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The Perks of Being a Wallflower Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Don't you forget about me... Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    The movie is tough-minded: It zeroes in on Patrick's anger at dating a closeted football star, and it doesn't let Charlie off the hook for his cruelty or self-pity.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    A heartfelt but rather generic coming-of-age dramedy.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    While there are humorous and poignant moments, this angst-filled story of tender kisses, awkward dances, friends drifting apart, kindly English teachers, unrequited crushes and drug-addled partying has a nagging sense of deja vu.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    It offers the rare pleasure of an author directing his own book, and doing it well. No one who loves the book will complain about the movie, and especially not about its near-ideal casting.

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  • See all The Perks of Being a Wallflower reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 14 & under

Book-based drama for mature teens tackles tough subjects.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Perks of Being a Wallflower (based on the same-named book by Stephen Chbosky) is an edgy, moving, and layered coming-of-age dramedy that's frank about the troubles and exploits of teenagers. You see them fret over their futures, push back against parental intervention, drink, make out, and use drugs. One girl also blithely jokes about being bulimic. Expect to see couples (both same- and opposite-sex) making out, teens bullying each other, and plenty of swearing. There's also a big reveal about a major, tragic trauma. Harry Potter's Emma Watson co-stars, but this is a much more mature role for her than Hermione.

  • Families can talk about how the movie depicts teens. Are the characters and their decisions realistic? What about the consequences of those decisions?
  • How does the movie portray drinking and drug use? Are they glamorized? If you've read the book, how does the movie's take on these subjects compare?
  • How does the movie depict bullying? What should teens do if that happens to them? What should they do if they see it happening to someone else?
  • Parents, ask your teens about the sense of alienation that the movie suggests teenagers have. Are real teens this disaffected and disillusioned?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: Teens may sometimes feel lost or inconsequential, but when they find their footing and are able to tap into their authentic selves, they can feel (per the movie) "infinite."

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: Charlie has issues -- he blacks out when he's in a fight, for instance, seemingly out of rage -- but despite the challenges he's faced, he's a loyal friend with good intentions and a big, open heart. His friends, though juggling their own issues, are kind and supportive of one another.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: One character is shown to have assaulted another who's defenseless (to provide more specifics is a big spoiler, but it's tragic). A truck is shown barreling straight for another car, the driver in peril. Teen boys harass a gay student and, at one point, beat him up; another rises to his defense, pummeling the others (viewers see mostly the aftermath). Another gay teen hides in the closet for fear that his parents and friends will disown him or worse. A boy hits a girl.

  • sex false2

    Sex: Both same- and opposite-sex couples make out (viewers see them kissing and groping each other), and there's talk of people having sex, though viewers don't really see it.

  • language false3

    Language: Language includes "f--k" (once), "s--t," "ass," "a--hole," "jerk," "spaz," "piss," "slut," "hell," "goddamn," "oh my God," and more. The word "f-g" is used as a slur.

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Brands seen/mentioned include Olive Garden.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false4

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Underage teens drink (beer and hard liquor), mostly at parties, where they also smoke weed. One teen also has an acid trip.