- Alternate Character Interpretation: Although Sam seems like something of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, note that it could be that Charlie's narration sees her at this. So much of the story is about her from his point of view, so it's unknown how much of Sam's real personality we're seeing and how much is Charlie's framed fantasy version of her. Sam herself seems to defy this trope towards the end, where she tells Charlie that he has to make himself happy instead of putting others before him.
- Awesome Music:
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- After working with Emma Watson in this film, Ezra Miller entered the Harry Potter 'verse in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. What's more is that Emma Watson and Logan Lerman would star together again in Noah - as adopted siblings. And Emma uses a Fake American accent in this, while Logan uses a Fake Brit voice in Noah (and this time Emma gets to keep her own accent).
- Patrick celebrates getting a C- to pass shop class. And Sam applauds him for doing this. Harry Potter fans will love the sight of Hermione Granger applauding an average grade.
- Jerkass Woobie:
- Brad is an Armoured Closet Gay who seems to genuinely like Patrick, but has to hide it from his homophobic peers. The fact that his father hit him for kissing Patrick almost makes you forget that he's a Jerk Jock who publicly calls Patrick a fag.
- Mary Elizabeth is an annoying Soapbox Sadie but you do feel a little sorry for her when Charlie (rather dickishly) kisses Sam right in front of her.
- Love to Hate: Mary Elizabeth has very few redeeming qualities. But Mae Whitman makes her so hilariously annoying that she's one of the funnest characters in the film.
- Misaimed Fandom: As the book and film were reduced to "quirky (pretentious) introvert" stuff, the massive Hype Backlash tends to ignore that Perks is a pop culture rarity that explicitly acknowledges abuse for what it is. Aunt Helen is acknowledged as a rapist whose sexual abuse of her nephew is not Played for Laughs at all just because the victim is male, nor is her own sad past used to exonerate her. In the novel especially, there are also various normalized forms of abuse described and condemned by Charlie, and much of it revolves around violence against girls and women. Particularly for something written by a white man in the '90s, it's quite remarkable how wonderfully nuanced and empathetic Perks is.
- Nightmare Fuel: Charlie's phone call to his sister is one for anyone who's ever had a sibling, friend, or relative with emotional issues.
- One-Scene Wonder: Even though Mr Anderson doesn't feature as much in the film as he does in the book, Paul Rudd still makes him memorable. Especially with his story-defining line:"We accept the love we think we deserve."
- One True Pairing: Although Charlie/Sam is Maybe Ever After in the book, a lot of fans like to think They Do. Enough for it to be made canon in the film, which was directed by the original author.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: Many people complained to the author that it was implausible that the main characters, who are so proud of their broad musical tastes, wouldn't be able to identify "the tunnel song". The author protested that it actually happened to him as a teenager in the early 90s. Ironically, "'Heroes'" was re-popularized by The Wallflowers a few years after the story's mid-90s setting.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Just because "family-friendly" actress Emma Watson appears here, it doesn't mean the film wasn't (briefly) rated R for "teen drug and alcohol use, and some sexual references" (it would be re-certified with a PG-13 certificate a few months before its release).
- The Woobie:
- Charlie begins the story having just lost his best friend to suicide, and he already has several social anxiety issues. When the group turns on him briefly over his break-up with Mary Elizabeth, you just want to give the poor guy a hug. To say nothing of discovering he was molested as a child by the aunt he looked up to. And he feels guilty for her death.
- Sam is revealed to have also been molested by one of her father's colleagues. And of course she did love Craig but he was cheating on her the whole time.
- Patrick appears to be The Pollyanna but becomes an even bigger Woobie as the story goes on. He's comfortable with being gay but he had to watch the boy he loves attacked just for loving him back - and said boy then denies that they were ever an item to save face in front of his friends.
- Candace as well to a lesser extent, as her major subplot is cut out of the film. But she is shown getting hit by her boyfriend. She ends up pregnant and has to abort it. That's not to mention her look of horror when Charlie calls her near the end of the film.
YMMV / The Perks of Being a Wallflower