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, and he is the subject of cruel pranks at the bakery where he does minor janitorial work. His teacher, Mrs. Kinnian, enrolls Charly in a clinical study where he is observed by a surgeon and a psychologist who have Charly "race" a mouse named Algernon, solving mazes. Algernon is usually the winner, thanks to an experiment involving brain proteins that greatly raised his intelligence. The experiment proceeds with surgery on Charly, who at first does not seem affected. However, he quickly becomes more logically advanced, soon becoming a pure genius. Emotional and intra-personal consequences are involved as Charly and his teacher become increasingly attached to one another. But when Charly gradually suspects the consequences of the experiment, he struggles with whether or not the procedure was a good idea.Written by
The introductory speaker at the doctor's conference is director Ralph Nelson. See more »
When Charly 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 »
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.
36 of 42 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this