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Parents' Guide to

Charlie Bartlett

By Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Edgy high school comedy better for mature viewers.

Movie R 2008 97 minutes
Charlie Bartlett Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 16+
love the movie
age 13+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (5 ):

Yet another movie-styled high school smirker, Charlie is surely clever, but he's also unoriginal. While he takes his search for identity/family/community/popularity to topical extremes (selling pills, offering psychobabbley counsel, and filming homemade fight videos), he follows a familiar coming-of-age course that's better suited for adult viewers familiar with his cinematic precursors than those currently in the throes of high school themselves. The contrivance of Charlie's story, the convenient ineptness of his mother, and the rallying of his peers don't so much extol the virtues of public education -- or even the wondrous discoveries of adolescence -- as they rehearse clichés (will Charlie lose his virginity as he so desires? Guess!).

This isn't to say that particular moments in the film don't resonate with a kind of energy or wit (particularly the featuring Downey, who brings a perfect pitch of weariness, frustration, and hope to his exchanges with the students). But as Charlie must learn his own limits and the value of being "himself," the film turns increasingly predictable.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: February 21, 2008
  • On DVD or streaming: June 23, 2008
  • Cast: Anton Yelchin , Hope Davis , Robert Downey Jr.
  • Director: Jon Poll
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: MGM/UA
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Run time: 97 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: language, drug content and brief nudity.
  • Last updated: June 20, 2023

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