Monday, May 2, 2016
“I know what you're thinking. I do. Who is this kid with the silver spoon in his mouth and why does he keep cooking heroin in it?” says Charlie (Nick Robinson), doing stand-up at a halfway house's talent show. It's a good line, particularly because it's Being Charlie's first and only indication that its titular character, who's apparently spent most of the last couple years cycling in and out of pricey rehab facilities, has any awareness of how whiny and self-martyred he might appear to audiences.
Written by director Rob Reiner's son, Nick Reiner, and a friend, Matt Elision, with whom Nick went through rehab for his own drug habit, this fictionalized autobiography was created in collaboration and conflict with the elder Reiner. That push-pull is echoed in the relationship between the sullen Charlie and his father, David (Cary Elwes), a former actor now running for governor of California. As seen though Charlie's eyes, David's tough-love approach is capriciously cruel and selfish, motivated solely by wanting to keep his son's messy problems from derailing his political career—until the final scene, in which David tells his son that he loves him and apologizes for the harsh treatment, claiming he was just following the advice of the many experts he consulted. But their reconciliation is too abrupt and one-sided to feel unconvincing, with David doing all the apologizing while Charlie plays it cool.
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