Charly

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"A love story that begins with an incredible experiment!"
  • M
  • 1968
  • 1 hr 43 min
  • 6.9  (7,167)
  • 50

Charly, released in 1968 and directed by Ralph Nelson, is the story of a mentally challenged man named Charly Gordon, played by Cliff Robertson. The film is based on the science fiction novel “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes. The story follows Charly as he undergoes a surgical procedure that increases his intelligence, making him a genius.

Charly is a menial worker in a bakery and is often the target of bullying from his co-workers. He attends night school for mentally handicapped adults and dreams of being smart enough to understand the world around him. His teacher, Alice Kinnian, played by Claire Bloom, is impressed by his drive and nominates him for an experimental surgery. The surgery is designed to increase intelligence by three times and has already been successfully tested on a lab mouse named Algernon.

After the procedure, Charly quickly develops an increased understanding of his surroundings and begins to excel in his work and studies. He becomes a highly sought after guest on television talk shows and is even invited to speak at scientific conferences. As he becomes more intelligent, his relationship with Alice changes from that of student and teacher to something deeper.

However, as Charly’s intelligence continues to grow, he realizes that his previous life was marred by ignorance and his newfound intelligence is both a blessing and a curse. He struggles to come to terms with his past and his present and finds it increasingly difficult to connect with people who are at his previous level of intelligence.

As Charly’s intelligence peaks, he begins to experience irregularities and regression, ultimately realizing that his newfound intelligence is only temporary. He tries to hold onto his intelligence by any means necessary, but eventually resorts to paying for another surgery- the results of which can be dire if it fails.

Charly is not only a story about the pursuit of knowledge but also an exploration of identity and the human condition. It raises ethical questions about the trade-offs between advancement and the loss of innocence, and it explores the idea that intelligence isn’t the key to happiness.

The film is expertly directed and features some of the finest performances of the era. Robertson’s portrayal of Charly is exceptional, and his skill in depicting the character’s development from a challenged man to a genius is astounding. Bloom’s portrayal of Alice is also worthy of recognition- her complex and subtle performance is a testament to her abilities as an actress.

The supporting cast is also exceptional, with Lilia Skala delivering a memorable performance as a psychologist who is skeptical of the experiment. The music is composed by Ravi Shankar and complements the film perfectly- subtle and melancholic, it captures the themes of the movie with accuracy and depth.

In conclusion, Charly is a touching and profound exploration of the human condition that showcases the immense prowess of the cast and crew. It presents tough moral and philosophical questions and explores the idea of what it means to be human. The film is a true classic and continues to resonate with audiences today.

Charly
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Description
  • Release Date
    1968
  • MPAA Rating
    M
  • Runtime
    1 hr 43 min
  • Language
    English
  • IMDB Rating
    6.9  (7,167)
  • Metascore
    50