Charlie (Logan Lerman), a withdrawn and depression-prone 15-year-old, enters high school fully expecting to have a terrible time. While he does meet the usual contingent of jerks and bullies things actually start to work out better than he expected. A friendly English teacher (Paul Rudd) spots his potential and encourages his interest in writing. Even better, he makes friends with a group of arty misfit seniors led by Patrick (Ezra Miller) and his stepsister Sam (Emma Watson). Charlie is fascinated by Sam though unfortunately she is only interested in older boys.
But it wouldn’t be much of a movie if it were all smooth sailing from there. All the members of the group have problems to be faced and issues to be worked out.
The story is set in 1991-1992 but when watching it I thought it felt more like the 1980s. (These are affluent families; by the early 1990s I would think there should be some computers around. Also men’s hairstyles were starting to get shorter by then.)
A note on age-appropriateness: The MPAA originally wanted to give this film an R rating but it was lowered to PG-13 on appeal. I think the PG-13 rating is appropriate–this movie is suitable for teenagers. However parents should take the rating seriously and be cautious about showing it to younger children. There is some fairly dark material here.