Charlie Gordon is mentally handicapped and all he wants in life is to be a genius. When he gets picked for experimental surgery it looks like his dream may finally come true. But the ... See full summary »
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
After the operation, when Charly loses his temper over being beaten once again by the mouse, no one seems to notice that he is now pronouncing Algernon with the middle "n" included, instead of his usual Algeron with the "n" missing. See more »
When Charley is talking to Mrs. Kinnian outside the building for his night class he is wearing a gold vest. When the camera cuts back to him after Mrs. Kinnian enters her car, he is wearing a blue vest. See more »
"I want to be smarter, just so I could get a little closer, you know?" Charly Gordon
Made in the days when doctors smoked cigarettes, this is Cliff Robertson's brilliant portrayal of a man isolated from society by an IQ of 69 who through a brain operation becomes a genius.
Robertson won a well-deserved Oscar for Best Actor in 1968 for his part in this wonderful and inspiring film, and it's a great movie, albeit on a "b-movie" budget. But entwined in its message is a dark reflection on how society treats people who are mentally handicapped.
Charly is the nicest guy you would ever meet, considerate of all, kind, but simple and naïve. Everyone around him either laughs at him or is condescending toward him. No one sees him as a man, not even a human being, just whatever they label him as - "dumb-assed janitor", or just plain "moron". Then he gets his operation and becomes the smartest man on Earth, but still he is labeled, and still he is isolated.
What I got most from this film is not a clinical study of mental retardation but the way society deals with mental retardation, and in this the film soars, and it will bring a tear or two if you have even a bit of humanity. It is a wonderful film, on many levels, testing us all on how we deal with those who are so unfortunate as to be mentally handicapped.
In "Charly", society doesn't win in the end, but the movie does! 9 out of 10.
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