I occasionally tour the "old releases" section of places like Blockbuster because I never know what I might find. I recently came across a 2007 movie Charlie Bartlett. I picked it up mostly because it had Anton Yelchin, who was charming as Chekov in Star Trek, and Robert Downey, Jr. who has become a fascinating actor. I was not disappointed.
Charlie Bartlett is about an affluent teenager who ends up going to public school after being kicked out of numerous private schools. Yelchin plays the title character with charm, wit, and depth. Charlie goes from getting beat up at school to being the one person that everyone can talk to. The fact that he then prescribes drugs for his classmates is what lands him in trouble again.
The movie is about much more than a kid getting drugs for his classmates, though. It’s more about the importance of having someone who will listen to you, even if he or she can’t help. This applies to both the children and the adults. Robert Downey, Jr. is excellent as the troubled principal of Charlie’s new school. The principal, Gardner, is caught between trying to understand the kids and trying to obey school policy.
Charlie Bartlett is a captivating movie because instead of getting oppressive and angst-ridden, the story is carried along with hope and humor.