Film Reviews The film "Charlie Bartlett" is a rollicking pied piper story. Film News And Views - Film Reviews - The film "Charlie Bartlett" is a rollicking pied piper story. Film Reviews,,The film "Charlie Bartlett" is a rollicking pied piper story.,recommendation,shopping,advice,simple,movies,films,film news and views,news and views,film industy,movie reviews,film news,film,news,views,television,made for tv movies,interactive entertainment,hollywood,hollywood news,celebrity news,insiders perspective,film reviewer,watch film,film trailer,new releases,new release,new release movie,new release film,movie reviewer,opinion,viewpoint,forum,discussion
The film "Charlie Bartlett" is a rollicking pied piper story.
by Erik Sean McGiven on Jun 28, 2007
The film "Charlie Bartlett" is a rollicking pied
piper story sweetly subversive enough to attract young filmgoers yet has the
moral fiber to gain the accolades of more mature audiences. In this adolescent coming-of-age movie
popularity is the central theme and the efforts of director Jon Poll and
screenwriter Gustin Nash have created a charismatic original that has all the
ingredients of a summer hit.
<>In the opening scene, we know what 17-year-old Charlie
Bartlett (Yanton Yelchin) wants, acceptance.
And that's the crux of his problem for he believes that friendship and
acceptance are based on pleasing others.
When he is forced out of a prestigious boarding school for making fake
ID's for fellow students, his out-of-touch mother (Hope Davis) offers little in
the way of guidance. He enrolls in a
local public school and travels on the Special Ed school bus to avoid being
ridiculed for arriving in the family's limo.
After being beaten up by the school bully (Tyler Hilton) Charlie quickly
learns that the key to survival and popularity lies in offering perks to his
fellow students. When his psychiatrist
prescribes Ritalin for his lack of concentration and he experiences the side
affects he hits upon a new way to gain peer adulation, dispensing drugs. But Charlie soon realizes that the problems
of his fellow students are not solved through medication alone and embarks on a
new career as a high school therapist.
His office is in the bathroom stalls of the boy's bathroom and the
scenes there are poignant yet still funny.
They conjure up the images of a confessional as parties sit side by side
separated by a stall partition.
Charlie gets very friendly with Susan (Kat Dennings) who
happens to be the daughter of the school principal and single parent (Robert
Downey Jr.). Downey suffers from alcoholism as well as communication issues
with his daughter. There's also the
problem of the surveillance cameras in the student lounge, a metaphor for the
electronic tethering today's teenagers endure.
In this comedy, problems and tough issues are brought to light in a
humorous and clever way. And while the
film hits on the miss-use of prescription medication as a way of treating
teenage problems, it also brings up the lack of communication between parents
and their kids as well as school administrators.
Anton Yelchin plays the role of Charlie with lightness and
charm winning over his fellow students as well as the film's audience. Robert Downey, Jr. role as the school's
principle is multidimensional and alive with dramatic undercurrents. The stress
of the job, raising a teen daughter, and facing a student body that listen more
to Charlie than him creates a lot of turmoil.
The school bully as portrayed by Tyler Hilton has the tough outer
veneer, but underneath is the vulnerability of a misunderstood teenager. Charlie's love interest Susan, played by
lovely and sensual Kat Dennings, bravely supports his causes, and even turns
him into a non-virgin.
While the film has plot holes the story will still hit home
with a good number of viewers, especially youngsters growing up in today's
fragmented families. In families where
there's no time or empathy to listen, to reach out and communicate. And to the young or even to the struggling
mature Charlie Bartlett is a hero, not because he takes on the villains, but
simply because he is willing to listen.
When he says, "Do you want to talk about it," it opens the
door to compassion and understanding, and often, finding solutions. In the end,
Charlie's need for acceptance is overtaken by the joy he finds in helping
Film was directed by Jon Poll, written by Gustin Nash, and
stars Anton Yelchin, Robert Downey Jr., Hope Davis, Kat Dennings, Tyler Hilton,
and Mark Rendall. Film was shot in
Toronto by Canadian linser Paul Sarossy.
Running time is 97 minutes. Rated
R for language, drug content and brief nudity.
Release date: August 3, 2007
April 3, 2020