Writer: Gustin Nash (Screenplay)
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Robert Downey Jr, Hope Davis, Kat Dennings, Tyler Hilton, Mark Randall, Dylan Taylor
Plot: A rich kid becomes the self-appointed psychiatrist to the student body of his new high school.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Brilliant High School Film
Story: Charlie Bartlett starts as Charlie (Yelchin) finds himself expelled from a private boarding school for making fake driving licences, returning to live with his mother Marilyn (Davis) as he agrees to try a public school. Charlie makes an impression on his first day with his naïve nature to the high school experience, where he shakes off the bully and not having social status to continue his kind nature.
Charlie continues to find ways around his problems with Susan Gardner (Dennings) being the love interest, Murphy (Hilton) as the bully he confronts to deal with the problem where he comes up with the idea of selling his medication. Charlie’s new plan does become more difficult when the Principal Gardner (Downey Jr) installs cameras in the student lounge. Charlie starts his own business as a psychiatrist for the students holding sessions in the boys room fast tracking him to the most popular kid in school.
Thoughts on Charlie Bartlett
Story – This story is a high school comedy drama about one boy coming from a wealthy family who enters the public high school system and using his own intelligence to help the kids with problems no one is listening to. We do get the typical situations going on with bullying, anti-social behaviour to certain students and a relationship between students with one being the principal’s daughter. The story really does look at how difficult the high school experience can be on the students and if the students could talk the problems through themselves they can help each other find what they want from life.
Comedy/Romance – The comedy going on through this film feels very much like a modern Ferris Bueller which all works because none of it feels forced. The romance is pretty much what you would call a standard high school romance angle.
Characters/Performance – Anton Yelchin gives what could easily be considered his best performance of his career as the character shows confidence through each situation even if he is dealing with his own problems. Robert Downey Jr shows he can easily play a supporting character with this Principal character that works well because he is open to help with the problems. As for the rest of the cast each performer gives great performances making the character’s work for the story being told.
Settings – Nearly all of the film is set in and around the high school setting which of course is all that is needed for a high school comedy drama.
Final Thoughts –This is one of the most underrated high school comedy dramas I have ever seen, the character of Charlie shines through to be one of the most important characters in high school films I have ever seen with the power of Ferris Bueller but the smarts to keep everyone together.
Overall: Easily the most underrated high school movie out there.