Quick Movie Review: Charly – 1968 – directed by Ralph Nelson

Posted: November 4, 2013 in Drama
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Based on the novel ‘Flowers for Algernon’ written by Daniel Keyes, 1968’s ‘Charly’ brings the much loved characters onto the big screen for the first time (after a tv drama in 1961 also starring Cliff Robertson). When released it garnered critical acclaim and gained lead actor Cliff Robertson an Academy Award for Best Actor.

The novel is one of my favourite stories of all time and as such I approached the film with great hesitation as I remembered watching another production when I was younger and not enjoying it. After watching this one I came away pleasantly surprised.

Although the novel could be considered a novella by some, it crammed an awful lot of emotion and powerful character development into its shortish page count. As such it fits the 104 minute runtime pretty well. But I will say that the 3rd act does feel slightly rushed. It doesn’t wreck the film but it does feel a bit odd after the great pacing of the first two acts.

The acting throughout is amazing from all parties and the Academy Award was definitely given to the right person as Cliff Robertson’s performance is stunning. The film is also beautifully well filmed and every shot looks great and carries deep emotion and power.

The film unfortunately doesn’t have quite the same power that the book does and the relationship between Algernon and Charly  is nowhere near as emotional. It isn’t to say that there isn’t emotion in the film as there really is, but those hoping for the deep emotional involvement and the truly heartbreaking nature of the book may come away slightly disappointed.

Overall I’d recommend the film and although I probably wouldn’t watch it again soon, I am very happy I sat down and watched it. 7/10

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