The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Spoilers: There Aren’t Any)

Which kid is supposed to be the interesting one?

Wallflower: noun – A person who from shyness or unpopularity remains on the sidelines of a social activity.

Right off the bat, this movie screams overwrought indie trash. I can’t think of a bigger cliche than the tale of a bunch of misfits who band together to deal with the trials of high school, and learn from each other while they grow into adults. Barf.

The main character, Charlie Dipshit, starts off as a wallflower. He’s a kid that was shy and unpopular, and didn’t have any friends going into high school. Apparently, he had one friend, but that kid killed himself. Honestly, if I was such a loser that Charlie was one of my friends, I’d probably kill myself, too. Anyway, Wallflower Charlie Dipshit doesn’t know anybody in high school, and the only “friend” he can make in his first day of school is his English teacher, Paul Rudd.

I’m not exactly sure how Wallflower Charlie Dipshit can have absolutely no friends. Did he get held back in school? Apparently not, because he’s a genius, which is another giant cliche. Puke. The movie states he has no friends because he has “mental problems” and therefore nobody likes him. Actually, this could have an element of truth to it, as there is a giant social stigma attached to mental illness. However, Charlie looks around at his freshman classmates like he is a new kid in town, and knows no one. He would know some of these people, because he’s been going to school with them for the last 9 years. So, the movie fails with its opening statement of why Wallflower Loser Charlie Dipshit has no friends.

What is this, Footloose?

Within the first 10 minutes, Wallflower Loser Charlie Dipshit makes two friends, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller. They are quirky and weird and into non-Top 40 music. According to the movie, listening to non-Top 40 music qualifies as having good taste. Believe me, a lot of stuff that doesn’t make it to the radio is 5000 times worse than the Top 40. The movie fetishizes music like a Priest lusting after an Altar Boy. Mix tapes get passed around constantly, characters spaz out when they hear a song they like on the radio, and everyone defines themselves by the “soundtrack of their lives” as if their lives would be devoid of meaning without The Smiths. Yes, this is yet another indie movie cliche that posits music as the greatest achievement of mankind. Retch. And how is it possible that these music aficionados couldn’t identify the very popular David Bowie song Heroes?

Once Wallflower Loser Charlie Dipshit gets enmeshed with his friends, they toast to him as King of the Wallflowers. As if that’s something to be proud of. HEY ASSHOLE, YOUR SO-CALLED FRIENDS JUST CALLED YOU A SHY, UNPOPULAR LOSER, YOU SHOULD TOTALLY KEEP HANGING OUT WITH THEM! After 30 minutes, Wallflower Loser Charlie Dipshit’s circle of friends grows larger. He now has several friends, and manages to land a girlfriend, too. I think at this point he would no longer qualify as a Wallflower. He shows significant character growth, transforming from Wallflower Loser Charlie Dipshit into Loser Charlie Dipshit.

The kids in this movie don’t act like high school kids. They act like college kids. They go to parties all the time, somebody is a vegan Buddhist, somebody else is a giant slut, a gay character struggles to come out of the closet, and there is a non-stop free flow of alcohol. With the exception of the main character, nobody has any parents. Clearly, a lack of parental supervision is what has caused all of these characters to be so psychologically damaged. Kids are hosting these low-key, chillax parties in their parents’ houses, drinking their parents’ booze, yet there isn’t an adult in sight. How are they paying for these things, anyway? Loser Charlie Dipshit’s parents are background fixtures who add nothing to the film. And seriously, how many high school kids do you know who are putting on weekly performances of The Rocky Horror Show? Clearly, this movie is very confused about what high school kids do. Vomit.

That looks safe.

The movie tries to achieve SUPER DEEP MEANING by dealing with REAL ISSUES like child molestation. Emma Watson reveals that she was molested by her dad’s co-worker when she was 11. I’m not sure why she let that happen. She should have just cast an Expelliarmus spell to get rid of him. Similarly, Loser Charlie Dipshit got molested by his crazy aunt when he was a young boy. When confessing his love for Watson, he tells her they are “the same.” Yes, you both got molested. You are like goddamn identical twins.

One of the worst parts of this movie is how it portrays mental illness. It does it just about as accurately as any other Hollywood movie. That is, it does a shitty job. Loser Charlie Dipshit says that he went crazy because his aunt died, and also because he didn’t have any friends. His craziness is defined as having blackouts and “seeing things.” He doesn’t have hallucinations, he has very brief flashbacks. He really has more PTSD than any kind of psychosis. But the movie wants you to believe he’s Schizophrenic or something. At one point, Loser Charlie Dipshit alienates his friends, and he starts going crazy again. He says, “LOL I’M SUCH A WHINY BITCH, PEOPLE HAVE TO LOVE ME, IF THEY DON’T I JUST GO CRAZY LOL!” Eventually, he Hulks out and beats the crap out of three high school seniors with his bare hands. Yes, that’s right, people. Mental illness gives you super powers, as well as badass fighting skills. Fuck The Avengers, next time an alien invades the Earth, we should call up a bunch of people with Schizophrenia to save the day.

Once Crazy Loser Charlie Disphit is in the mental hospital, he meets a Psychiatrist, Dr. Joan Cusack. She is a psychic doctor, because she immediately knows to ask him about his crazy aunt, the molester. By talking with him, she is able to cure him of his craziness. So, clearly, his vague mental illness does not make any kind of goddamn sense.

They are all so cute and quirky and indie I want to throw up.

At the end of the movie, Crazy Loser Charlie Dipshit probably became a wallflower again. After all, every single one of his friends were high school seniors, and they graduated and went off to college. So, unless he made some other friends the film didn’t show us, he is right back to square one. And without friends, he is probably going to go insane again.

When the movie was over, I had to ask myself, what exactly are the perks of being a wallflower? Apparently, there aren’t any, because Crazy Loser Charlie Dipshit stopped being a wallflower pretty quickly after he got some friends. He got involved in activities, and his life became better for it. Maybe the title of the movie should have been something like The Cliche Life of a Doofus in an Indie Movie with Hermione Granger. At least that would have been accurate. Whatever. This is indie trash at its finest.

Verdict: Bad

16 Responses to “The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Spoilers: There Aren’t Any)”

  1. July 27, 2013 at 8:29 am

    It wasnt very entertaining… but I still watched it for Emma Watson.

  2. 3 Ornette
    July 27, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Never seen the movie, but that looks like Pittsburgh

  3. 5 worldsbeforethedoor
    July 27, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Dear sir, Thank you thank you for pointing out how pointless this type of movie is. What they need to tell kids is you want to have friends, be a friend….and btw….high school is a pointless social time of life that last four years and we all forget about it as soon as possible. Also, I’m super thankful we had the breakfast club and not the Wallflowers!
    The end.

  4. 7 HPVH1
    July 28, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    I thought the main perk of being a Wallflower was that no matter how much you sucked, you were guaranteed fame, fortune, and gonorrhea simply by dint of having Bob Dylan’s kid in your band.

  5. 9 lokifire
    July 29, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Oh, Brik, you silly! The perks of being a wallflower are that you get to write a critically acclaimed self-indulgent semi-autobiographical novel of your life and then, 20 years later, make a movie about it starring Emma Watson!
    I mean, OBVIOUSLY.

  6. 11 WL
    July 29, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    The main problem I have with this kind of movie is that they always try to portrait the unpopular kid as someone complex and with “issues”, but said kid is allways shallow and empty as a blank piece of paper, just like unpopular people in real life HS.

    • July 30, 2013 at 5:18 pm

      Very true. Just because you’re shy and unpopular doesn’t mean you are automatically deep and secretly cool. Sometimes those people really are just giant losers.

  7. 13 Gabriel
    February 18, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    I severely disagree with your analysis of the movie. There are quite a number of flaws in your review that are easily discovered if you actually read the book. For instance, Charlie was held back for two years due to emotional trauma. He starts high school as a 16 year old. Your analogy of “music like a Priest lusting after an Altar Boy” is not only offensive but also a key issue with Charlie seeing as he was molested by his aunt as a child. He is proud of his friends toasting to him being a wallflower because he is convinced no one thinks anything of him. As far as “gaining super powers from being mentally ill” he actually learns to fight from his brother. It wasn’t clean fighting either. He chop blocks on kids knee and claws at the eyes of the other kid, not really tactical at all. Joan Cusack is not psychic. She explains that he was talking in his sleep. He kept dreaming that his aunt was molesting him. Charlie is no longer a wallflower by the end. The story ends when he stops writing letters because he now participates. I will agree that the movie wasn’t very good. It did a poor job of recreating the story in the book.

    • February 22, 2014 at 8:05 am

      Here’s the thing: you disagree with my analysis of the movie and state that the problems are rectified in the book. My review was not of the book, it was of the movie. The movie should be able to stand on its own. It clearly couldn’t, hence the scathing review. You said yourself, “It did a poor job of recreating the story in the book.” It sounds as if you actually agree with me that the movie is lacking.

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July 2013


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