Charlie Bartlett (2008)

Director: Jon Poll
Plot: A rich kid becomes the self-appointed psychiatrist to the student body of his new high school.

Genre: Comedy/Drama
Awards: -
Runtime: 97min
Rating: NC16 for language, drug content and brief nudity.



We must be comfortable in ou
r own skin, to live a life that we want to live, to believe in what we want to believe. Charlie Bartlett is the film to emphasize just that. It's a teenage romantic dramedy that centers on an outspoken yet slightly eccentric boy who manages to rally everyone in high school to support his illegal causes, albeit to his principal's distress. Bartlett is someone whose brain juice would never run dry, a guy who thrives in the limelight and whose creative ideas are a nightmare to any authority. He dreams of being popular among his peers, and he would risk nearly everything (including being suspended from school) to be well-liked.

In some ways, Charlie Bartlett induces comparisons with its 'sister' film, Juno. In fact, it's safe to say that it picks up where Juno left off. There's no doubt Juno is the better picture, but Charlie Bartlett comes close. Anton Yelchin pulls off the title role quite convincingly; he often has to act slightly deranged, and in some instances, a total idiot banging on the piano keys (he plays the instrument like a pro though). The film gets more absorbing when drugs come into the fray. Bartlett sees himself as helping his peers by 'prescribing medication' to those who are mentally and emotionally stretched. To these people, Bartlett is like an escape route, someone who knows how they feel and is able to make them feel better.

Charlie Bartlett is well-scripted, providing a good balance of humor and spot-on observations of the flawed lifestyles and attitudes of high school students. It's not intellectually stimulating stuff, but it makes viewers, especially young adults reminiscent about their 'great' times in high school - flouting school rules, dating, smoking, mixing with bad company etc. The film is pretty upbeat and it moves at a rather quick tempo; viewers will find it a breeze to sit through Charlie Bartlett which is quite decent entertainment at this time of the year. A guaranteed hit with teens though!

SCORE: 7.5/10

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