Writer: Guinevere Turner (Screenplay) Ed Sanders, Karlene Faith (Book)
Starring: Hannah Murray, Matt Smith, Sosie Bacon, Marianne Rendon, Merritt Wever, Suki Waterhouse, Chace Crawford
Plot: The tragic tale of an all-American girl who was transformed into a cold-blooded killer in the summer of 1969.
Tagline – Dreamers. Victims. Murderers.
Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Been There, Seen This
Story: Charlie Says starts as we meet the three women Lulu (Murray), Katie (Bacon) and Sadie (Rendon) who are serving their sentence on death row, without a death penalty being allowed, graduate student Karlene Faith (Wever) who has been offering lessons to other female prisoners, is given a chance to offer the women something to do.
This leads us to meet Lulu, when she was still Leslie, first bought into Spahn ranch and learning the methods of Charles Manson (Smith), as he ended up offering up a free love idea, which shows us how close they are and how controlling he is with the people.
Thoughts on Charlie Says
Characters – We follow Leslie as she joins the family and becomes Lulu, we see how she gets to learn how the family operates becoming on of the followers, as she learns about the family, we learn about them. Katie and Sadie are two more of the followers that have all been locked up for the murders, they teach Lulu and in prison they still believe in the theories of Charlie, while being offered a chance for a future. The three main women are shown just how they are easily controlled and become devoted followers that would go onto do a horrendous crime. Charles Manson is the cult leader that drugged, controlled and forced people into doing his actions, fighting back against society that he felt controlled people, he is still one of the vilest people to walk the Earth.
Performances – The performances here have three women in, Hannah Murray, Sosie Bacon and Marianne Rendon who are all fine, they don’t get do much that we haven’t seen before, while Matt Smith as Charles Manson is the same as everyone else’s idea of the monster.
Story – The story here follows three members of the Manson Family who have been put in prison after their murder, as we see how they are given a chance at education, while we learn how they became part of the family under the controlling monster. It is getting close to the time where we need to ask why we need to keep telling the Manson family stories, we know they were monsters who used drugs as an excuse to commit horrendous crimes, we do try to follow the revival of their humanity, which on the outside would have been very interesting, but we spend too much time just watching the brainwashing and actions behind what Charles did to them. It offers very little to what we know, unfairly paints the women as the victims, rather than the monsters they were.
Biopic/Crime – The biopic side of this film is trying to put a light of sympathy onto the three women, as we learn how they tried to remember their time in the Manson Family, no matter how difficult remembering would have been, while we know the crime, we seem to focus more on the aftermath, rather than the horrendous action itself.
Settings – The film uses two main settings, the ranch, where Charles controlled the women and the prison where they didn’t have any control.
Scene of the Movie – Most of Karlene’s struggles.
Final Thoughts – This is another needless version of the Manson family, putting more spotlight on the people who don’t deserve it, instead of condemning them for their actions.