Dir: Rob Reiner
Starring: Nick Robinson, Common, Cary Elwes, Devon Bostick, and Morgan Saylor
2.50 out of 5.00
MONTE YAZZIE ~ THE FOOTHILLS FOCUS ~5/19/16
Director Rob Reiner has a few memorable, some may argue classic, films underneath his creative belt. Reiner is the director behind “This Is Spinal Tap”, “Stand by Me”, “The Princess Bride”, “When Harry Met Sally…”, “Misery”, and “A Few Good Men”. What these films have in common is a dedication to composing memorable characters, from the coming-of-age drama about a group of boys looking for a dead body to the romantic toiling of Westley and Buttercup, Reiner capably captures characters with unique, recognizable motivations and emotions. “Being Charlie” is a personal story for the director. Centered on a young, troubled character, one can easily sense the influence of an accomplished director behind the camera throughout the film. However, “Being Charlie” doesn’t reach the expectations one would expect from a talent like Reiner.
Charlie Mills (Nick Robinson) is a young man in a rough situation with drugs. His father (Cary Elwes) is a politician in the middle of a campaign run in California. Not wanting his son to go through a high profile recovery with the media watching, he stages an intervention and Charlie is reluctantly sent off to an adult treatment facility. Charlie meets a young girl named Eva and they form a bond with one another. However, is a relationship a good thing for these two troubled young people or will it further their troubles and lead them into a worse situation?
“Being Charlie” is a film co-written by Reiner’s son Nick Reiner and details the world seen from the eyes of a child growing up in the consistent shadow of fame. Having experienced these feelings and emotions lends a keen perspective to the project. There are moments in the film that display a raw honesty that could only have been composed by someone who was there, who was taking part in the real situation. However, where the film displays moments that shine bright because of the connection the team has to the story, there are also moments where the subject matter is overly predictable and the harsh aspects of drug addiction handled with trepidation. This all leads to a narrative that becomes scattered with ideas and emotions that don’t always connect to the desired effect.
What assists the film is the performance of Nick Robinson, fantastic in “The Kings of Summer” and recognizable from “Jurassic World”. Robinson helps lessen the negative shortcomings of the script by composing a character that is one moment charming and another moment on the edge of distress. Robinson’s character is the most developed of the fine, underutilized cast that boasts Cary Elwes as a detached father, Common as a caring counselor, and Morgan Saylor as a complicated love interest.
“Being Charlie” builds towards a culmination of underdeveloped plotlines needing to find a conclusion. It is the skill of Reiner as a director that the entire film doesn’t completely fall apart when this all happens. Aside from a great performance and a few moments of experience providing honest emotions, “Being Charlie” unfortunately doesn’t offer anything substantially endearing to the viewer, though I hope it helped a family understand one another better.