Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.



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Charlie Bartlett

Film #165


A rich kid becomes the self-appointed psychiatrist to the student body of his new high school.

Year 1, Day 166

BEFORE: My classes have ended and exams are now done so that means I have plenty of time to relax and continue watching lots of movies. For no special reason, Charlie Bartlett receives the honors of being today’s film. The biggest reason for watching this film is Robert Downey Jr. but it also stars Anton Yelchin (ooh, the reason for watching this can be the recent release of the new Star Trek Into Darkness trailer - yes, there is no colon in the title).

AFTER: Charlie Bartlett is a typical high school film where you have the kid who doesn’t fit in so naturally he must become friends with the entire school. After achieving this goal the kid is then faced with some consequences.

That may sound like a negative outlook on the story but in reality I quite enjoyed Charlie Bartlett and found it very refreshing. To begin with is the character Charlie Bartlett who is played by Anton Yelchin. There was a brief moment in the beginning of the film where it seemed like Charlie was faking how nice and outgoing he was. Given his illegal activities, this happy-go-lucky kid seemed like his whole personality was just an act. But very quickly it becomes apparent that he is sincere and just has a lot of family issues to deal with. Soon you are fully behind Charlie and support everything he is doing because while it may be wrong, his intentions are right: he’s trying to help people.

As far as the supporting cast goes, no one was bad but no one could live up to Yelchin’s performance either. Even Robert Downey Jr., who is a fantastic actor and one of my favorites, didn’t live up to Yelchin. Little did I know that RDJ wasn’t going to be the best part about Charlie Bartlett.

The story was a little subpar however. I found myself questioning the inclusion of certain plot details and the direction the story went at certain times. Two examples both deal with attempted suicides in the film. To avoid spoilers I’ll just say that the two scenes involve a student and an adult respectively. With the student, it’s not that he came out of nowhere and when the scene did happen, I was all but expecting him to attempt to kill himself. But for such a major moment in the film and a turning point for Charlie’s character I feel as if there should have been more development for his character. And for the adult’s attempt, this had plenty of development beforehand, but the scene in question does a complete 180 right in the middle of the action that just left me puzzled as to what took place.

But don’t let these minor annoyances mar your appreciation for Charlie Bartlett. It’s a wonderful film filled with some fantastic characters and a terrific job done by Anton Yelchin. If you are ever in the mood for a generally happy film, with a few occasions of sadness, Charlie Bartlett is a good choice.

RATING: 4 out of 5