Charly is an adult male with a cognitive disability struggling to survive in the modern world. His frequent attempts at learning, reading, and writing prove difficult. His teacher, Miss Kinian, takes Charly to the clinic where he is observed by doctors who have Charly "race" a mouse, Algernon. Algernon is usually the winner thanks to an experiment that greatly raised his intelligence. This experiment is given to Charly, who at first does not seem affected. However, he becomes more logically advanced, eventually becoming a pure genius. Emotional and intra-personal consequences are involved when Charly learns the truth of the experiment, and struggles with whether or not the procedure was a good idea. Written by
A mildly mentally retarded man submits to a scientific experiment to increase his intelligence. Like "Frankenstein", "Charly" is a clever morality play about science that crosses certain boundaries. Unlike "Frankenstein", which took the horror route, "Charly" explores the emotional human tragedy that inevitably occurs when an experiment of this nature goes awry.
Many scientists back then and even today argue that the professional boundaries that were crossed in this story would never happen in real life. Yet with the recent successful gene manipulation and cloning experiments many believe it is only a matter of time, a very short time, before a human submits to such experiments.
The movie, of course, is not this clinical. Based on the classic novel, "Flowers for Algernon", the movie strikes a keen balance of warmth, comedy and tragedy. Cliff Robertson's fascinating portrayal of the main character is unforgettable. His delivery of the powerful speech at the scientific convention is just as stunning and eerily accurate today as it was over thirty years ago.
An emotional, touching drama, "Charley" still rings a cautionary bell. One that should be heard and not ignored as we enter the new millennium.
29 of 34 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?