PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER
Teenage Self-Pity, Angst, Narcissism, Obsession, and Over-Indulgence
Starring: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson,
Ezra Miller, Mae Whitman, Erin
Wilhelmi, Paul Rudd, Adam
Hagenbuch, Nina Dobrev,
Nicholas Braun, Dylan
McDermott, Kate Walsh, Joan
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 104 minutes
Distributor: Summit Entertainment/Lionsgate
Director: Stephen Chbosky
Executive Producer: None
Producer: Stephen Chbosky, Lianne
Halfon, Russell Smith, John
Writer: Stephen Chbosky
Address Comments To:Jon Feltheimer, CEO, Lionsgate Films aka Lions Gate Films (Summit Entertainment/Roadside Attractions)
2700 Colorado Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone: (310) 449-9200; Fax: (310) 255-3870
Based on a popular, controversial semi-autobiographical novel, the movie’s story focuses on young Charlie, who’s entering high school as a freshman. Charlie has suffered some mysterious trauma in the last year and may have some even deeper issues. This resulted in a vague series of blackouts the year before, but he says he’s cured of them now. Even so, his experience has left him shy, withdrawn and unsure of himself.
Charlie is befriended by two quirky seniors, Patrick and his stepsister, Samantha. Striving to go to Penn State, Samantha is coming off an earlier teenage flirtation with promiscuity, while Patrick gets a lot of jazz from the football jocks. Patrick and Samantha hang out with an eccentric crowd of other older students.
After a brief introduction to these characters, Charlie finds out that Patrick is having a secret homosexual affair with the star football player. About the same time, he and Samantha go to midnight showings of the homosexual rock opera THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, where Patrick dresses up as the movie’s transsexual transvestite “hero,” Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Then, at one quirky senior party, Charlie is fed a marijuana-laced brownie by the stoner guy in the crowd. The other seniors seem to find this funny.
[SPOILERS FOLLOW] The fun comes crashing down when the football star’s father catches Patrick with his son and starts beating up his son. Patrick is stunned and leaves his friend in the lurch. One day soon afterwards, the boy and his friends start beating up Patrick. Charlie violently and decisively intervenes. Stopping the fight gains newfound respect for Charlie, but he’s had another blackout and doesn’t remember anything. Meanwhile, Charlie pines away for the older Samantha, who’s trapped in another affair, this time with a college boy who’s cheating on her. His unrequited feelings lead him to start dating a girl in the crowd who has a crush on him.
Everything comes to a head when, at another party, Charlie willingly takes a tab of LSD, and the police pick him up the next morning on the streets.
Though based on one author’s own high school experiences in the early 1990s, THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER throws in a hodgepodge of issues of teenage angst, including being nerdy, taking drugs, holding illicit parties, sexual exploration, teenage suicide, and even dealing with childhood molestation. It’s all kind of Romantic and politically correct as well. Worse, the movie seems to make light of giving an innocent victim a marijuana-laced brownie or a young teenager experimenting with LSD and alcohol. Studies show that alcoholism is more likely if one drinks before 16. Furthermore, taking LSD is never a good idea either. Also, there are many cases of young people suffering permanent damage when someone intentionally puts some kind of drug in their food or drink without them knowing about it. One of MOVIEGUIDE®’s editors, for instance, met a man who became very messed up as a teenager and an adult when some jerk put PCP into their coffee at school. Thus, it’s not just the movie’s attitude to homosexuality and bullying that MOVIEGUIDE® finds abhorrent, but also the movie’s Romantic worldview. That worldview is epitomized by its positive affirmation of a couple of the more evil songs in THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, especially the last song, where all the characters, including the women, dress up in transvestite outfits while Dr. Frank-N-Furter intones, “Don’t dream it, be it.” This 1975 movie and this song have corrupted several generations of young people by now. It’s one of the main culprits in today’s Anti-Christian, Anti-American bigotry of sexual promiscuity and exploration, hedonism and government handouts to deadbeats and freeloaders. If you wonder why TV shows like GLEE and MODERN FAMILY are so politically correct and flamboyantly puerile, just look at THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW.
To make matters even worse, THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER includes a melodramatic subplot of child molestation. Thus, child molestation becomes the reason for all of the male protagonist’s teenage angst and sometimes erratic behavior. The movie’s treatment of this issue, which is indeed a serious issue, fits in perfectly with its Romantic worldview of liberal/leftist victimology. It also absolves the protagonist of all moral responsibility for his own actions, including his own lack of discipline, not to mention his feelings-based attitudes. No wonder so many young people in the Millennial Generation seem screwed up and are drifting away from the faith of their parents and grandparents.
Finally, one of the pseudo-intellectual revelations in the movie is the feeling that “We are infinite.” This plays into the movie’s Romantic, self-indulgent theology where human beings become like, and perhaps even replace, God. Of course, this is the evil theology that Satan used to seduce Eve in the Book of Genesis in the Holy Bible. In contrast to this false theology, Christianity offers people a truly satisfying, truly liberating connection to the infinite and to eternity by helping them re-establish a personal relationship with the Eternal Transcendent God through Jesus Christ and His Gospel of deliverance from and victory over sin.
All in all, THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER is a really dangerous movie that may cause susceptible teenagers to indulge in the risky behaviors of the characters. Those risky behaviors include including drug use, illicit parties with no adult supervision, sexual experimentation, underage drinking, irresponsible and irrational emotional fixations, and (in a couple scenes) standing up in the uncovered flatbed of a truck, without a seatbelt, while the truck flies down the road.
THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER is an exploration of teenage angst, laced with comedy. The actors clearly love with their parts and the story. So, many moviegoers may succumb to their charms. WALLFLOWER promotes a Romantic worldview of feelings over reason. It also makes light of teenage drug abuse and other risky behaviors. Finally, the homosexual references are mindlessly politically correct. THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER is despicable, shallow filmmaking.