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Charlie (Nick Robinson) is an 18-year-old drug addict struggling through rehab. He’s got a self-destructive attitude and when he breaks out of his current facility, hitches a ride back to L.A. where his father (Cary Elwes), a former Hollywood star, is now a politician making a run for governor. Greeted with a harsh tough-love approach, Charlie is given only two options: jail or back to rehab. Meanwhile, he is trying to maintain a relationship with Eva (Morgan Saylor), a beautiful and troubled fellow addict, deal with his sponsor Travis (Common), and contend with parents who don’t agree with what they should do.
Directed by Rob Reiner (When Harry Met Sally) and co-written by his son Nick Reiner, the story is inspired by Nick’s own battle with drugs and rehab as a teenager and is a mix of comedy and heavy drama, though the comedy is certainly drawn from tragedy. It’s the first time the father/son team has worked together and the project is clearly a work of personal passion.
Lead actor Robinson is best known for his role as Zach in 2015’s Jurassic World, playing the older brother trying to survive on the dinosaur-infested island, but looks well-cast here and could surprise as the conflicted and tormented young man. There are some admittedly odd moments in this trailer, most especially the stand-up routines that relate to his addiction, but otherwise, this looks to have some impact. Both Elwes and Common appear to be in top form, delivering performances that are clearly meant to represent the ‘two dads’ scenario, but look effective. Elwes has always been reliable as a character actor and Common continues to have great screen presence.
Premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival, Being Charlie was well-received and is being distributed by Paladin, releasing on May 6, 2016.
Matt Elisofon, Nick Reiner
Nick Robinson, Common, Cary Elwes