Every once in a while, a small film will come out that nobody knows. Not many people will see it, but those who do will enjoy it immensely. And later on, it will go places. People will finally hear buzz about it and ask, "When did that come out?" and "Why haven’t I heard about it?"
Case in point: Little Miss Sunshine. Few saw it in theaters, and then it went on to win the Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor Oscars. Little Miss Sunshine profit was enormous – except in Utah. You must put forth your own effort to seek out little treasures like that. And Charlie Bartlett is easily one of those films.
Brilliant 18-year-old actor Anton Yelchin (Alpha Dog) plays Charlie Bartlett, a rich kid who’s been expelled from every prep school. His fate now lies in the cold, cruel hands of the public school system. Because all Charlie knows is prep school life, his lack of style and social skills causes his classmates to leave him in the dust with the short-bus kids.
Charlie Bartlett is all about a great kid who’s just trying to fit in with a bunch of other kids who are trying to do the same – only they don’t know it. He does anything and everything he can to accomplish this – from studying psychology and giving personal, private therapy sessions, to studying pharmaceuticals and giving prescriptions accordingly. It doesn’t take long for his entire class to latch onto his unique personality as he does everything he can to try to make everyone fit in, feel normal and realize that everything is going to be all right.
Of course, along the way Charlie meets obstacles that hinder his social homeostasis: a bully, a geek, a love interest daughter-of-a-principal (Robert Downey Jr.) who’s hot on his case, etc. But these are nothing he can’t handle and help make right.
Charlie Bartlett is an unforgettable film. It carries a charm that you’ll carry with you a while after seeing it. There’s something about intelligent, upbeat, well-written and well-made movies that you just don’t forget. And just like this movie, young Yelchin is going places too.
Although you might only recognize Yelchin as the kidnapped teen from Alpha Dog, he got his big break as the lead role in a film that David Duchovney wrote and directed, House of D (another little treasure film). And next year, you’ll see him play the young version of the legendary Russian Commander Pavel Chekov in J.J. Abrams’ big screen reboot of the original Star Trek series.
If you’re looking for great, new, fresh and original entertainment, then steer clear of the typical Hollywood flick this week and see if Charlie Bartlett can’t give you a hand.