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The Perks of Being a Wallflower [2012] [PG-13] - 6.4.5



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


» Official Site
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Based on the novel by Stephen Chbosky: An introverted high school freshman (Logan Lerman) is befriended by two seniors (Ezra Miller and Emma Watson) who bring him into their lives, and forever changing his. Also with Dylan McDermott, Kate Walsh, Johnny Simmons and Paul Rudd. Directed by Stephen Chbosky. [1:42]

SEX/NUDITY 6 - During a teen boy's voiceover it is implied that he had been molested by his aunt: we see a flashback of a woman's hand touching a boy's upper thigh as she tells him not to wake up his sister (we do not see molestation but we see the teen boy's parents hug him while crying).
 A teen boy and a teen girl share a lingering kiss as the teen girl grabs the teen boy's upper thigh and they recline on a bed; sex is implied when we see the teen boy leaving the house the following morning.
 A teen boy and a teen girl kiss and the girl puts the boy's hands on her breasts (over clothes); they lie down on a sofa and continue to kiss passionately (no sex is implied) until they are interrupted by her parents coming home. We see a montage of a teen boy and a teen girl kissing and the teen boy is shown grabbing the girl's breasts as we hear the teen boy's voiceover explaining that he is "tired of grabbing" the teen girl's breasts. A teen boy sees a teen girl and a young man kissing passionately. A teen girl kisses a teen boy and then pulls away and hugs him. A teen boy kisses another teen boy and then pulls away and apologizes. We see a teen girl kiss a young man. A teen girl kisses a teen boy through the open window of a truck. A teen boy watches his teenage sister kiss a teen boy. A teen girl kisses a teen boy on the cheek.
 A teen girl wraps her arms around a teen boy, hugging him. A teen boy walks into a room and sees two other teen boys kissing. A teen boy dares another teen boy to kiss "the prettiest girl in the room"; he kisses a teen girl and another teen girl begins to cry and rushes out of the room. A teen boy makes teasing kissing faces at a teen girl.
 On multiple occasions we see teen boys and teen girls pantomiming along to a movie with both the boys and the girls wearing corsets and underwear (on one occasions we see a teen boy wearing only gold tight-brief-style underwear revealing his bare back and chest); a teen boy wearing a corset dances suggestively in front of another teen boy sitting in the audience (the corset rides down and a portion of the teen boy's bare chest is visible) and during one reenactment we see the movie screen with a man on top of a woman, kissing passionately as a teen girl and a teen boy re-enact the scene in the background with the girl running her hands down the body of the teen boy.
 A teen boy asks another teen boy to not tell anyone that he had seen the boy and another teen boy kissing, explaining that his partner does not want people to know he is gay. A teen boy narrative explains that he had been told by a teen girl that another teen boy was engaging in a sexual relationship with another teen boy and that the teen boy would have to "get drunk" in order to have sex and then would lie about it the following morning. A teen boy's voiceover explains that he had learned that a teen girl was sexually promiscuous when she was younger, often going to parties and having sex with older high school students. A teen boy tells another teen boy a story of a teen girl and a teen boy who had been forced to use a sandwich bag as a condom when having sex at a park. A teen boy jokingly tells two teen girls to perform oral sex on a boy to welcome him to a party. We hear a teen girl describe nearly being caught with a teen boy by her parents to a group of other teens. A teen boy tells another teen boy about a girl who had developed breasts when she was younger and would let people touch them. A teen girl asks a teen boy if he had ever kissed a girl; he says no, then asks a teen girl if "she has" and she laughs and says that she had never kissed a girl. A teen girl tells a teen boy that she wants the teen boy's first kiss to be from someone special. A teen girl tells a teen boy that her first kiss was at age 11, from an older man (her father's boss). A teen girl tells a teen boy (as another teen boy listens) that a young man is unsuccessfully trying to have a relationship with a waitress and the teen girl then makes a crude joke. A teen boy teases two other teen boys, pushing them together and saying, "Get a room." A teen boy's voiceover (as he writes a letter) explains that he is writing the letter because the reader had chosen not to "sleep with" a person even though they were able and willing. A teen boy's voiceover explains that a teen girl had found out that her older boyfriend had revealed that he was cheating on her previously. A teen girl makes a crude remark to two other teen girls and calls them virgins.

VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - A teen boy trips another teen boy who gets up and confronts the teen boy as a crowd of people watch: the two begin to wrestle and fight, the first boy punches the other boy in the stomach repeatedly as two additional teen boys hold his arms back and we then see teen boys kicking the other teen as he lies on the floor; a fifth teen boy approaches the crowd and it is implied that he knocks two of the attackers unconscious with swift punches (we see the boys on the floor) and threatens the first attacker, saying that if he touches the other teen boy again, "I'll blind you."
 We see a teen boy's cut and bruised face as we hear another teen boy's voiceover explain that the injured boy had been caught kissing another teen boy by his father and that his father had beaten him. We see a teen girl instruct three teen boys to grab another teen boy and pull him into the bathroom (it is implied that the boy is being beaten by the other boys).
 On multiple occasions we see a teen boy experience a flashback of a woman driving a car being t-boned by a semi-truck; we see the lights of the semi glaring through the car window as glass shatters and it is implied that the woman died in the car accident. A teen boy tells a teen girl that his best friend (another teen boy) had shot himself the previous spring. A teen girl tells a teen boy that another teen boy had confided in her that his friend had killed himself. A teen boy experiences a flashback of seeing scars (implied to be suicide-attempt scars) on the insides of his aunt's wrists.
 We see a teen boy experiencing a panic attack or nervous breakdown as he mumbles and hits his head against a door repeatedly; we hear the teen boy on the phone with his sister as he looks at a knife and it is implied that he is thinking about committing suicide (the sister tells another teen girl to call the police) and we then see the teen boy in a mental hospital recovering. An intoxicated teen boy walks through the snow and lies down; we see him in the snow and then in a hospital bed, implying that he had blacked out and had to be hospitalized (please see the Substance Use category for more details).
 A teen boy shouts at a teen girl (a second teen boy watches them in secret), she pushes his chest and he slaps her; the teen boy in hiding rushes to the girl's rescue, she pushes him away and tells him not to tell their parents and later speaks to the boy saying that she had provoked the other boy and that he had never hit her before. A teen boy yanks a book from another teen boy's hands and rips off the cover. A teen boy shouts at a group of teen boys and teen girls, instructing them to frog-leap up and down a hallway.
 A teen boy teases his teacher in front of a class, mimicking him as he warns the class that a tool is dangerous and he was instructed to use the tool to "kill [derogatory racial term] in 'Nam." As a "hypothetical" a teen boy dramatically tells another teen boy that he had seen his boyfriend's father beat his boyfriend because he had caught him with a person of the same gender. A man teases his teenage daughter that she is "cruisin' for a bruisin'." A teen boy fantasizes that he tells a group of people at a party that he wishes that he or a teen girl would get cancer so they could break off their relationship. A teen boy teases another teen boy, saying that he has "another breakdown" scheduled.
 On two different occasions, we see a teen boy and a teen girl standing up in the back of a pick-up truck while it is driven through a tunnel (neither are braced to the vehicle).

PROFANITY 5 - About 2 F-words, 4 sexual references, 6 scatological terms, 2 anatomical terms, 6 mild obscenities, 4 derogatory terms for homosexuals, 1 derogatory racial remark, name-calling (that weird kid who spent time at the hospital, Nothing, Paddy Cakes, teacher's pet, spaz, freak, needs to be put down, fascist, Freshman toad, not bitter, worthless dad, no bulimic, buli-most, virginity pledges, Ponytail Derrick, toasty tuxedo, not paranoid, sensitive, hopeless stoner, scared freshman, crazy, goth, your highness, loser, bit of a mess, idiot, loser, jag-off, pet ape, pathetic, psychos, [obscenity deleted] as a three dollar bill, insane), exclamations (shut up), 5 religious profanities, 6 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A teen boy and a teen girl are see taking LSD (LSD paper is seen on the boy's tongue) and the teen boy is seen extremely intoxicated (doing repetitive motions and he then lies in the snow and wakes up in the hospital where he denies doing drugs to the doctor and his parents), a teen boy eats what is implied to be a brownie with marijuana in it and he acts intoxicated, a teen girl clarifies with a young man that he had given a teen boy a drugged brownie and then asks the teen boy if he had been "stoned" before (he says no), and a young man acts intoxicated (it is implied that he has used marijuana) throughout the movie. Throughout the movie we see teen boys and girls drinking alcohol at parties, a teen girl and a teen boy share a bottle of wine, a teen boy drinks from a thermos to the point of drunkenness as he drives a truck with another teen boy as a passenger, and a teen girl tells a teen boy that her father collects wine but does not drink. We see a teen girl holding a cigarette (it is not lit).

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Depression, coming of age, regret, suicide, high school, friendship, acceptance.

MESSAGE - High school can be very challenging. It is important to have good friends.

Special Keywords: S6 - V4 - P5 - MPAAPG-13

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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