Even with a tight-knit community of friends around him, Charlie still can’t help trying to fit in, no matter the cost. So he experiments with alcohol, drugs and clandestine games of "Truth or Dare." While all these shenanigans are the stuff of every high school movie ever made, it’s the secret lives of the main characters that ultimately have the most dramatic impact. Shown in flashback, these revelations give further insight into why Charlie, in particular, is the way that he is. It’s heart-breaking stuff, and you can’t help wanting to give all these kids a big hug.

Thanks to a sheer lack of schlock in the script and strong acting - particularly from Watson who definitely makes a favorable impression in her first major post-Hogwarts role with a flawless American accent to boot - The Perks of Being a Wallflower will definitely resonate with teenagers and basically anyone who feels like s/he doesn’t fit in.

This updated Breakfast Club is a just-as-uncomfortable reminder of how hard high school can be without a few friends along for the ride. For people who have faith to lean on, it’s a troubling memo about the fallen world we live in and how we need to be intentional about showing love to everyone who feels alone.

CAUTIONS:

  • Language/Profanity: The occasional use of he--, bit--, as-, plus one f-word.  Sh-- is also used several times. A handful of gay slurs and euphemisms for sexual acts, plus God’s name taken in vain or paired with da--.
  • Sex/Nudity: Several conversations, some more explicit than others, about “hooking up,” and most of the teens are admittedly engaging in pre-marital relations. Several couples are shown kissing and touching each other at parties. Sam admits she’s already had multiple sexual partners and started at age 11 after her dad’s boss kissed her. Charlie fondles a girl’s breasts. Patrick is unabashedly gay, and at one point, Charlie catches him making out with the resident football jock, Brad. Patrick and Brad start a relationship, and we hear about their drunken sex and how Brad’s father condemns their actions. Patrick briefly kisses Charlie, and in one scene is dressed in high heels and a bustier. One character reflects on being molested as a child. Virginity pledges are made fun of.
  • Drugs/Alcohol: Underage drinking and cigarette smoking is depicted. Drugs, including hash and LSD are used recreationally at parties. We see Charlie hallucinate after popping LSD.
  • Violence: When Brad’s father caught his son having sex with Patrick, he beat him (he has unsightly bruises and puffy eyes as a result). Feeling embarrassed by what he’s done, Brad enlists the football team to not only make his life miserable by teasing him, but making sure they pound him senseless, too. Some fighting is shown after Charlie stands up for Patrick. A girl is slapped by her own boyfriend. Charlie feels bad after his aunt dies, thinking he’s the one who wanted her to. Mention of Charlie’s friend’s suicide. Fears that Charlie may hurt himself are confirmed, but before he acts out, help arrives.
  • Spiritual Content: While Charlie’s family is Catholic, faith is more about going through the motions. You’ll see them taking Communion or saying the Lord’s Prayer in one scene, then taking His name in vain in another. One of the characters says her beliefs are "punk" and "Buddhist."

Publication date: September 28, 2012