Box art for Struck by Lightning

Struck by Lightning

  • Rated NR

independent, special interest

Chris Colfer and Rebel Wilson star in this hilarious comedy about surviving high school when your classmates don't get you, your parents are crazy, and all you have are your dreams.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 14
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
2 out of 5
Positive role models
1 out of 5
3 out of 5
2 out of 5

Edgy high school comedy from Glee star has some iffy stuff.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that Struck by Lightning is a high school dramedy that will appeal to many tweens and teens thanks to star Chris Colfer (Glee), who also wrote the screenplay (which he also adapted into a book) and produced. As the title suggests, the protagonist is literally struck by lightning and tells his story from beyond the grave. Other than that, there's not much violence, but there is some sexuality (two teen guys are secretly fooling around in the boys' bathroom, and a cheerleader is having an affair with the football coach), language ("s--t," "a--hole," etc.), and substance use (a mother is addicted to alcohol and prescription drugs). The themes could spur conversation about life in (and after) high school, not following the herd, and finding your voice in the crowd.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about how Struck by Lightning features a posthumous narrator. Does knowing a character is dead right from the beginning ruin the movie for you?
  • Do stereotypical cliques continue to dominate high school environments in real life as they do in the movie?
  • How does Carson's death affect those around him, even the people who didn't like him or treat him well when he was alive?
  • Are the teen characters realistic? What about their choices/behavior?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: At times the film is charming against its own will, but it remains needlessly complicated and obsessed with its own mythology and metaphors.

- Amanda Mae Meyncke,, Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Rotten: Struck by Lightning means well, but its gentle dissection of high school cliques brings nothing new to the genre ...

- Brian Miller, Village Voice, Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Rotten: All but the hard-core Colferphiles slink out embarrassed, feeling as confused and discombobulated as if they too just took an electric bolt to the brain.

- David Fear, Time Out New York, Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Audience Reviews

2 stars

I guess I was expecting the movie to be funny considering it listed as a comedy. Instead what I got was a quite dark and depressing film about a boy desperately wanting to escape his life. I couldn't find any of the characters likable. Especially the MC Carson. He is very cynical of everyone and quite closed off and a bit bratty when he doesn't get his way. I did like Rebel as Malerie. But the rest of the characters where dull and boring. The acting wasn't so great either. A decent movie but nothing worth seeing again.

- LWOODS04, Wednesday, May 29, 2013

4 stars

I really enjoyed this. I thought it was really funny but also poignant. I liked the message in their about staying true to yourself and how it's important to dream and have aspirations. Sure, Carson could kind of be a jerk sometimes but you could see why he was so sarcastic. I think it was his way of dealing with the crap in his life. His mom was pretty much an alcoholic, his dad left them and didn't seem like he wanted to be a part of his life. Not once, while he was April (hid fiancee who was 6 months pregnant) did he ever mention that he had a son. His grandma has Alzheimer's. She doesn't even seem to remember him most of the time. But even so, I dont think he was always a jerk. I really liked the scene with him and Claire (Sarah hyland) where he asks her why she thinks she'll never make it out of this town and do better for herself. And he talks about how in grade 2 she told everyone she wanted to be a ballerina, and he asks "What happened to that girl?". And as she responds that everyone laughed at her. He tells her "I never laughed". I think its sweet that he wanted her to do something that SHE wanted. The ending had me in tears. It was sad of course that he died and didn't go on to college and do the things he wanted, but he did inspire people while on earth and I thought that was powerful in a way. I also cried for his mom Cheryl (Alison Janney) when she finds out that he dies. The way she keeps calling him and hoping that its just some mistake. She wasn't perfect (far from it), but she did care for him. All in all, I enjoyed this film and recommend it.

- mrbicklethepickle, Friday, April 19, 2013

5 stars

Watched and enjoyed very much. Well written, and acted. Nice to see a teen movie not directed at teen partying and sex and having to fit in. Watched in a group. We ranged in age from 13 to 41. We all got laughs, and tears from this movie. Sad to see bad reviews, most likely they are the ones who want the sex and binge drinking in the movie. This is how high school was for me. Chris Colfer hit the nail on the head!!

- akline2, Saturday, February 16, 2013