By Liz Lopez
In the feature film directed by Rob Reiner (And So it Goes, Flipped, The Bucket List), the protagonist in Being Charlie can be any one of a number of teenage individuals struggling with addictions that film audiences have seen in a number of films or television characters. The difference in Charlie Mill’s character from the majority of others we see in similar books and screenplays is his family background, as he does not come from an impoverished home. His father, David (Cary Elwes, No Strings Attached), has plenty of fame and wealth from his Hollywood and political ventures that would provide a boatload of anything he wants, but quite the opposite, 18-year-old Charlie (Nick Robinson, The 5th Wave, Jurassic World, The Kings of Summer) does not want any part of it. He has had numerous stints in rehab prior to his 18th birthday, and currently, he is “celebrating” said special day in a Utah facility where he smashes a stained-glass window. Hitching rides to Los Angeles, best friend and former classmate, Adam (Devon Bostick, The Art of the Steal), is readily available in to provide a ride back to his family. Charlie’s mom Liseanne (Susan Misner, The Good Wife, Nashville) is happy to have her son home, but obviously, David is going to continue the tough-love approach as he is in a close race for California governor.
At 18-years-old, Charlie has to face criminal charges or return to a recovery program as a last-chance effort obtained by David. This all pretty much sounds predictable, but the slight difference that kept me viewing the film is Robinson’s portrayal of this Charlie and the addition of characters at the new facility despite many of the scenes set in there appear as many have before.
Charlie meets new fellow patients, including a pretty young blond, Eva (Morgan Saylor, McFarland USA). They quickly click and deeply bond, despite house rules and counselors well intentioned disapproval. Drake (Ricardo Chavira, Scandal, Desperate Housewives, Telenovela) does his best as the initial counselor, but Travis (Common, Selma, Now You See Me) has an empathetic approach that appeals to Charlie as he learns more about addiction and being selfish. These are some of the best scenes, along with watching Charlie pursue something that he thinks he can do in his life.
Being Charlie may not be the first choice for fans of action and adventure films, but if a true reality of a dysfunctional family appeals to you, this is a good choice to enjoy at the matinee.
The material for this film does not show a rating, but with the drug usage, language and nudity, you can make a decision if you want to take a minor to this film or not. Run time: 97 minutes.
The film will be in theaters on May 13th and in Austin, will it will be available at the Regal Arbor at Great Hills
Source: Jorva Entertainment, Defiant Pictures, Castle Rock Entertainment