The Truth About Charlie

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Truth About Charlie Movie Poster Image
A bad remake of a good movie.
  • PG-13
  • 2002
  • 104 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Violence

Intense violence and peril, dead bodies.

Sex

Brief nudity, adultery.

Language

Some strong language.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink and smoke, character gets drunk to deal with stress.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie includes nudity, an adulterous sexual situation, extreme peril and violence, strong language, and drinking and smoking. There's an off-camera but vivid search of a dead body. Regina responds to the stress of having to identify her late husband and being questioned by the police by getting drunk.

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What's the story?

THE TRUTH ABOUT CHARLIE stars Thandie Newton as Regina Lampert, a British woman living in Paris. Three months earlier she impulsively married a wealthy Swiss art dealer but has resolved to get a divorce because she feels it was a mistake. Before she can tell him, she arrives home to find their apartment empty and gutted. He liquidated everything they had and left without leaving a message. She learns that he has been killed. And then she learns that he was not Swiss and not an art dealer. He had stolen some money while on a military operation for the United States. The money has disappeared, and the people he first stole it with and then stole it from want it back. And so does the U.S. Government. Josh Peters (Mark Wahlberg) arrives just as she is feeling like a damsel in distress and he befriends her. At first, she relies on him, but then she finds out that he has not been honest with her, so she has to use her own judgment and courage to decide who to trust and to solve the mystery.

Is it any good?

I can't figure out how a studio decided to take a classic like Charade and remake it without a single one of the ingredients that made it great. The dreamy theme song by Henry Mancini is gone, except for a dozen brief, quiet bars almost lost amidst the screeching, thumping soundtrack. The witty dialogue is gone, except for a couple of quips. They left out one of the best last lines in the history of movies. But, worst of all, the star power is gone, too. This movie has some attractive and talented actors. But I think I can state without fear of contradiction that Mark Wahlberg is no Cary Grant. This remake is simply a pedestrian and mildly weird standard romantic thriller, below average but not unwatchable.

Director Jonathan Demme undercuts the suspense with clumsy exposition and poorly handled characterization. Wahlberg looks puffy and unhappy and has no chemistry with Newton. And there are some surreal moments (possibly tributes to 1960s French New Wave films) that don't work at all.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Regina decides whom to trust.

Movie details

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