Charlie Bartlett is an average teenager, who wants nothing more than to be liked by everyone in his high school. He has everything any kid would probably want in their lives. He’s rich, he has a very understanding mother who is very supportive of him and he is also very intelligent. But Charlie has one quirk. He has a certain passion in making trouble. At the beginning of the movie, he got kicked out of private school due to making fake driver’s licenses for his friends. And so his mother decided that putting him to a public school might help.
His first day in his new school didn’t go so well. He was bullied by this kid, Murphy, for looking like a weird kid in his suit and attaché case. But Charlie also met Susan Gardner, the principal’s daughter. Charlie, still not letting go of his dream to be everyone’s friend, thought of turning things around. He befriended Murphy and made him his business partner. Together, they supplied students with psychological medications coming from different psychiatrists who Charlie has consulted due to his “problems”. These problems were just made up with symptoms Charlie has read from various psychology and psychiatric books. He wanted to help these kids who felt alone and left out. To Charlie, this is his best shot to popularity. Everything worked well and Charlie was suddenly loved by everyone in his new school. He also got close with Susan and eventually, they became couples.
And so the movie goes as Charlie and Susan got to know more about each other. They realized that they had the same family problems. Charlie’s father was sent to prison and as a result, his mother got into a deep depressive state. As for Susan, her mother had an affair and left. Her father, in turn, became an alcoholic. Same problem, different scenario: One parent who left them and another with serious psychological problem. This brought Charlie and Susan even closer to each other.
But then problems arise when one of Charlie “clients”, Kip, went and got himself overdosed with drugs that Charlie prescribed. This made Charlie end his entrepreneurship and also made him realize his wrongs. So he decided to make things right and talked Kip out of his depression and suicidal tendencies. He made Kip understand that life, no matter how fucked up, is still worth living. It is then that Charlie found out about the play Kip was writing. His new goal was to make Kip’s play happen and so began another wacky journey, as Charlie help Kip convince the principal to agree with the production of the play.
This movie is a good watch as it mixed comedy and reality very well. There is an ample amount of funny moment and yet there are some deeper and more serious issues behind the hilarious characters. We see that each of them have troubles in their families, and we also see how they try to cope with these things. Like many other movies, it teaches us that there are more things in life than being popular. That wanting to be liked by everyone is alright, depending on how we use that attention. This movie also tells us that no matter whom we are - popular, rich, jock, emo, weird, nerd, or whatever - there are problems that we tend to hide from everyone, problems that we cannot bear and have no choice but to keep it inside because of fear. I think this movie would appeal well, not only to Psychology students, but to everyone as it really tackles much about how each person deal with their issues in life. It’s a quirky, light and easy watch but very much substantial. I give it a 9/10.