Kernel Rating (out of 5):
MPAA Rating: PG-13 Length: 103 minutes
Age Appropriate for: 13 and up. Teens do what they’re not supposed to, including drinking and using drugs—though depicted as goofy and benign, the drug use is presented in a way that might make it seem somehow necessary for self-discovery. The film’s central teen characters do their share of kissing, fumbling and fondling, but with no nudity or sexual acts depicted (unless you count gleefully performing in drag for their local Rocky Horror “floor show”). Physical and sexual abuse, though left largely offscreen, is a powerful recurring theme in several characters’ lives—parents may need to be ready to discuss such topics with teen viewers.
Combining the care and sensitivity of a coming-of-age novel with the ascendant power of wizards and Olympians, The Perks of Being a Wallflower might just bridge the distance between (Generations) X, Y and Z.
By Jared Peterson
The film’s protagonist, Charlie (Logan Lerman), is entering high school with far more than just the average freshman jitters. He has had mental health issues for which he only recently left the hospital. He’s still struggling with the suppressed anguish surrounding the death of his favorite aunt (Melanie Lynskey) and the suicide of a close friend. He and his family are worried that a bad start at school may trigger a relapse. Luckily, Charlie falls in with the right kind of wrong crowd, a group of aggressively idiosyncratic seniors who recognize his still waters and the depth beneath them.