Adam Thomas Anderegg
Thomas C. Baggaley
based on the book by Jack Weyland
Excel Entertainment Group.
DVD Release Date: August 1, 2003
Run Time: 103 minutes
Some thoughts after seeing Charly:
The lesson of this film compared to many of the other LDS-themed filmswe have seen is this: It all starts with a good, well-writtenstory. True, this is an oft-repeated saying in the movie business, butit bears repeating. My advice to all aspiring LDS filmmakers is this:take a bunch of extra time and get the script absolutely right beforeyou ever start to get ready for production. Charly is awell-established story with a long track record, and the differenceshows. The whole audience laughed and cried throughout. There wereno weak points in the story, no moments which didn't seem characterdriven. As a result, the excellent acting seemed even better, themusic seemed all the more fitting, the whole film from thecinematography to the sound effects just seemed a thousand times moreprofessional than it would have otherwise. In sum, it all starts withthe script. If you have the right story and a very well-written,well-polished script, it will be that much easier to do everythingelse well, because everything will come naturally. Without that,you're fighting an uphill battle all the way.
Fearless prediction: Charly will be the best-received of allLDS-themed films to date. Why? Because it gets LDS cinema right -the way it should be. It's been said that good science fiction ismade up of good stories that happen to be set in space (or the futureor whatever the sci-fi element is). Charly is a great storythat happens to have LDS characters. True, their religious beliefsare an important part of who they are, just as it is for all of us,and these beliefs do play an important in the plot, simply becausethey are an important part of the characters. However, in the end,the story is character-driven, NOT religion-driven. Religion comesinto play because of the who the characters are, not the other wayaround.
Sean Means, of the Salt Lake Tribune, gave a bunch of advice toLDS filmmakers. The best thing he said is this: "Don't try to makethe best LDS movie. Just try to make the best movie. The rest willsort itself out." That is why, in my opinion, Charly succeeds.It's simply a great movie that just happens to be an LDS movie.
Walking away from the theater, I couldn't help but think thatCharly by all rights should have been the first successful LDSCinema film - nothing against "God's Army" of course. It just shouldhave been made into a film long ago.That's how right they got it.
© 2002 Thomas C. Baggaley