“Being Charlie” is Rob Reiner’s latest movie about a privileged 18 year drug addict named Charlie, trying to live a life of sobriety after countless attempts in rehab. Charlie is the son of David Mills, who is a Hollywood actor that is running for Governor of California. The movie begins on Charlie’s 18th birthday which is celebrated at an inpatient recovery program. A happy birthday song and vandalized stain glass window later, Charlie takes off and flees the rehab program, thrusting the audience into the movie that follows Charlie’s journey.
I had extremely high hopes for “Being Charlie”, as it was co-written and inspired by director Rob Reiner’s 22 year old son Nick, whose own battle with drug addiction was well known throughout the Hollywood community. Unfortunately, “Being Charlie” skirts over dealing with Charlie’s addiction in any type of intimate or insightful way, and that’s a damn shame. The issue of drug addiction is at an all time high in our society and people are looking for answers, viable solutions, or at the very least, some insight. And it’s the insight that I was expecting “Being Charlie” would offer in some way, any way, especially since the subject matter hit so close to home for both the director and his son. As universal a problem as drug addiction is in our culture today, the movie couldn’t be any more polarizing with its’ choice of main characters, especially that of Charlie and his father. Something tells me it might be difficult for most audience members to empathize with an over-privileged, 18 year old white kid, whose father is Hollywood elite, trying to become a politician, and who has all the markings of the much despised 1%. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me? Can anybody else relate?
I was truly hoping “Being Charlie” would take a fresh or different look at the trials of a drug addicted teenager, and possibly offer up something new or at least unique. But all we really get is a decent, rated-R, Lifetime movie. In spite of an impressive performance by Nick Robinson who plays Charlie, along with a bunch of sometimes punchy, sometimes fun dialogue, the movie overall, is really quite boring. We’ve heard this story before and quite honestly, there’s nothing new about it and we know where it’s going. “Being Charlie” is a formulaic and cliché ridden script, whose only redeeming quality is a stand out performance by its lead actor, Nick Robinson. Sorry Charlie. Really.