David Earl, Chris Hayward
David Earl, Chris Hayward, Louise Brealey
Rated: PG for language, mild violence, and smoking
All media used courtesy of Focus Features
Brian is a socially awkward inventor who makes silly knickknacks from random artifacts. He decides to make a robot from whatever was laying around, and after failing to power it on himself sees it come to life the next morning. Now with his Robot Charles, Brian will have to learn about sharing a life with someone who knows nothing about life in general, in this quirky comedy that has a warming and calming sense to it.
This film premiered at this years Sundance, and I unfortunately did not get the chance to see it there, as this is perfect for the festival crowd. The tone is cheeky, with nuance to the humor that’s used in a very realistic way even though we’re dealing with robots. The robot Charles is unaware of life, and Brian hasn’t really lived a life, in many ways making him incapable to show Charles what life could be. Brian is unsure if Charles is his son or his best friend, maybe both, but he still resists living or taking Charles out into the world.
The story similarities to Ryan Gosling in Lars and the Real Girl are notable, but while Lars mainly focus on physical and sexual anxiety along with social, Brian and Charles leans more into general social anxiety, and confidence. They both serve similar purposes but they use very unique ways of showing the real human drama within these life-like side characters. David Earl who plays Brian is great, the voice of Charles works for the most part, and the humor while more subtle lands well.
Overall, I had a good time with this film and would say check it out if you love quirky comedies with emotional depth.