Charly

"OK"

Charly Review


This adaptation of Daniel Keyes' sci-fi novel Flowers for Algernon is slow and very dated, but manages to pull itself together for a fairly powerful ending. Keyes's book took a rather silly premise -- a mentally handicapped adult, Charly Gordon (Cliff Robertson), undergoes an experimental operation to reverse his disability and give him supernormal intelligence -- and created a disturbing psychological study and a complex portrait of mental disability.

The plot is somewhat predictable, but it's what you do with it along the way that counts. Keyes did a lot. Unfortunately, the film version (renamed Charly) doesn't do much beyond the obvious. As Charly gains intelligence, we're supposed to see the world develop through his eyes, but mostly we just see him studying and having boring conversations with love interest Claire Bloom. Robertson won an Oscar for the role, but his portrayal of the mentally disabled Charly seems crude by today's standards and inconsistent in tone - at times he's suspiciously aware, other times unrealistically slow. Robertson does better with Charly the genius, but this part of the film doesn't last that long and feels like an Outer Limits episode, with Robertson talking about the dehumanizing future and walking around in a lab coat narrating silly "scientific" dialogue.

The main problem with this film is that it was made in 1968. The love scenes - montages of Bloom chasing him around the park, close-ups of oak leaves, and the couple driving in a roadster - are absurdly trite. There's also a really stupid psychedelic cutaway sequence with Charly crashing a Harley and smoking pot with goateed, Nehru-jacketed hippies which was dated by 1969. (And by the way, the soundtrack by Ravi Shankar doesn't sound very Indian, and it isn't very good.)

Then comes the end of Charly's arc, when he learns that the effects of the operation are temporary. Here the movie achieves real pathos in a series of moving scenes. In particular, Bloom's portrayal of the loyal Alice (who asks him to marry her, knowing that he has only a short time left as an emotional adult) rescues the film from mediocrity and gives poignancy to the bleak ending.

It might have been better if this film had been made in the seventies, since the first part of the story would have benefited from a more modern and realistic approach. On the flipside, in the wrong hands the ending could have easily been more manipulative. As it stands, Charly/Algernon is another example of a memorable book which ends up diluted by the lesser talents of screenwriters.



Charly

Facts and Figures

Run time: 103 mins

In Theaters: Monday 23rd September 1968

Production compaines: Sangsho Film

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Fresh: 12 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Selig J. Seligman

Starring: Kolia Litscher as Nicolas, as Charly, Jeanne Mauborgne as Vieille Dame, Abdelkader Belkhodja as Vieil Homme, Philippe Chevassu as Le Prof, Jean-Max Causse as L'automobiliste, Camille Grynko as Le motard

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.