Charlotte Sometimes - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Charlotte Sometimes Reviews

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hunterjt13
Super Reviewer
September 28, 2012
A man who secretively loves an attached woman attempts a relationship with a new, mysterious woman.
Remarkably slow (or in indie-speak "understated"), this drama attempts to milk each moment, each over-wroughtly contrived situation for the most it can wring. Slow pans and pregnant pauses punctuate the drama, and while I found every plot twist indicated and predictable, I can't say that there was much that could have been done with this story that wasn't done. The performances were all what one might expect from an indie drama: strong, but ultimately actors being actors.
Overall, I think the story would have been better served by a short film rather than an extended drama.
maxthesax
Super Reviewer
December 30, 2010
Charlotte Sometimes is an indie film, shot with a 20,000 budget that is a masterwork of cinematography, expertly using camera,color and lighting.

The story involves four late 20's early 30's adults and concentrates on all the lies we tell to others and ourselves, especially in areas of the heart.

At the center is Michael, a lonely, quiet man who inherited his uncles' home and car repair business (more that he was the last man standing than anything else, as the rest of his relatives either didn't want the business or had moved away).

Michael has renovated the home into two apartments, so he has tenants to cover his expenses. He rents to a cohabitating couple who have been together for 10 months. In his lonliness he can hear their carnal carrying ons, which only add to his sense of detachment. He believes that he is in love with the woman, but since they are good friends, doesn't want to ruin the friendship with a confession of his feelings.

Into this odd triangle comes another woman, Darby, who attracts not only Michael, but the male renter. What then insues revolves around betrayals and secrets, of which I'm not going to speak further.

The beauty of this film is that we are introduced to the charactors slowly, letting the viewer learn about them, just as the other charactors on screen are learning. What is ultimately revealed is a very impressive depth to three out of the four charactors, who are all flawed, yet very real in their feelings and motivations.

The lighting is exquisite throughout, often accentuating the mood, and the clever use of camera angles adds depth without being showy and detracting from the content.

There is a beautifully filmed sequence that takes place outside of a cheap motel. A man's soul is brought into question, and as he enters his car to ponder what level he has sunk to, the car's interior lights slowly fade, dimming his face until he is a shadowed silhouette.

The title of the film inferes something important, and perhaps I took the meaning in the wrong way; though it was interesting to see that, while I may have been mistaken, in a way I was not; as who we are is subject to change given who we are with and the environment that surrounds us. The person we show to others may or may not be who we truly are - the reasons for the falsehood may be medical, or perhaps just a safety net, keeping us from suffering. We think we control the spin, but in reality the spin often controls us. Charlotte Sometimes explores these boundaries with a sure hand, while leaving us to decide exactly what will happen after the film fades to black.
Super Reviewer
February 18, 2009
A strange kind of love story. This left the viewer bewildered. Too much left unsaid for this viewer to be able to figure out what happened. Of this much, I am sure: there was more to this than what appeared on the surface. Deception and infidelity and longing and past loves all combined to make this very hard to decipher. And the ending leaves things ambiguous so that we can only guess how they turned out. A beautifully shot, quiet film that leaves more questions than it answers.
December 24, 2008
It's hard to explain why I really liked this movie, but part of it is definitely the Michael character, "..a reclusive auto mechanic captivated by an enigmatic drifter", there's something about the way he handles himself that I admire, thought at times you wish he was a little less reclusive.

I like what I read on Wikipedia, "..Charlotte Sometimes is a "mysterious and erotic" romance exploring the kinds of love for which there are no names or clear arrangements"
½ October 26, 2007
As an antidote to talky American indies involving twentysomething romantic conundrums, the laconic Charlotte Sometimes hits just the right note.
½ March 10, 2008
The acting is commendable, and the characters and story are fascinating. I also like the way the space of the house, the primary setting, is used.
½ February 23, 2006
[size=2]As soon as I get a print program for this year's [b]SFIAAFF[/b], I'm gonna go thru it page by page. So far, I know Angie and I will be at the opening and closing nights. Eric Byler's [b]Americanese[/b] should be good. His film last year, [b]Charlotte Sometimes[/b], was an audience fave, and this one, based on Shawn Wong's book [b]American Knees[/b], opens the festival. (FYI, they usually add on a screening of the opening film in the second week -- $35/ticket for opening night is pretty steep.) Knowing Eric Byler, he'll probably be in attendance at each screening -- I think he enjoys audience Q+As. I believe this has no distributor so best to catch at the fest.

The closing film, [b]Journey from the Fall[/b], got good buzz at Sundance. I suspect it might get a limited theater run. Abraham Lim's latest feature, [b]The Achievers[/b], will also bow at the festival. Lim graduated from NYU's film school and has made a name for himself as an editor as well as a director/writer of several notable shorts and a full-length feature. The 4th installment of Cheuk Kwan's [b]Chinese Restaurants[/b] should be a crowd pleaser. This time he takes a swing down to South America. I also plan to check out Jeff Adachi's [b]Slanted Screen[/b]. I remember taking a Bar review class taught by Adachi back when he was still the head of the SF public defender's office. He himself was the subject of a PBS POV documentary about his role defending a Vietnamese immigrant/murder suspect. [b]Slanted Screen[/b] takes on in interview format the history of Asian American male roles on the silver screen.
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June 24, 2004
[color=white]I rather liked this film. i didn't intend to watch it..but it sucked me in. I really enjoyed Michael's character (at least I think that was his name). It was refreshing to see an Asian man portrayed outside the typical fashion here in the west. I didn't really care for his femme neighbor. She lacked depth that the other characters had. ...but in all...it was pretty darn good.[/color]
½ January 8, 2004
(DVD) (First Viewing, 1st Byler film)

I was totally and completely seduced by this film. Almost immediately I was gripped by the mysterious, shadow-filled and erotic atmosphere, and was engrossed by the dynamics of the two couples. The last third isn't quite as gripping as the first two (probably because we're still trying to guess who Darcy is and figure out her connection with Lori at that point), but didn't spoil the film in any way.
May 14, 2015
Eugenia Yuan is amazing and exciting. the story is very interesting and characters well developed.
April 11, 2013
Beautifully made Character driven film ...
hunterjt13
Super Reviewer
September 28, 2012
A man who secretively loves an attached woman attempts a relationship with a new, mysterious woman.
Remarkably slow (or in indie-speak "understated"), this drama attempts to milk each moment, each over-wroughtly contrived situation for the most it can wring. Slow pans and pregnant pauses punctuate the drama, and while I found every plot twist indicated and predictable, I can't say that there was much that could have been done with this story that wasn't done. The performances were all what one might expect from an indie drama: strong, but ultimately actors being actors.
Overall, I think the story would have been better served by a short film rather than an extended drama.
maxthesax
Super Reviewer
December 30, 2010
Charlotte Sometimes is an indie film, shot with a 20,000 budget that is a masterwork of cinematography, expertly using camera,color and lighting.

The story involves four late 20's early 30's adults and concentrates on all the lies we tell to others and ourselves, especially in areas of the heart.

At the center is Michael, a lonely, quiet man who inherited his uncles' home and car repair business (more that he was the last man standing than anything else, as the rest of his relatives either didn't want the business or had moved away).

Michael has renovated the home into two apartments, so he has tenants to cover his expenses. He rents to a cohabitating couple who have been together for 10 months. In his lonliness he can hear their carnal carrying ons, which only add to his sense of detachment. He believes that he is in love with the woman, but since they are good friends, doesn't want to ruin the friendship with a confession of his feelings.

Into this odd triangle comes another woman, Darby, who attracts not only Michael, but the male renter. What then insues revolves around betrayals and secrets, of which I'm not going to speak further.

The beauty of this film is that we are introduced to the charactors slowly, letting the viewer learn about them, just as the other charactors on screen are learning. What is ultimately revealed is a very impressive depth to three out of the four charactors, who are all flawed, yet very real in their feelings and motivations.

The lighting is exquisite throughout, often accentuating the mood, and the clever use of camera angles adds depth without being showy and detracting from the content.

There is a beautifully filmed sequence that takes place outside of a cheap motel. A man's soul is brought into question, and as he enters his car to ponder what level he has sunk to, the car's interior lights slowly fade, dimming his face until he is a shadowed silhouette.

The title of the film inferes something important, and perhaps I took the meaning in the wrong way; though it was interesting to see that, while I may have been mistaken, in a way I was not; as who we are is subject to change given who we are with and the environment that surrounds us. The person we show to others may or may not be who we truly are - the reasons for the falsehood may be medical, or perhaps just a safety net, keeping us from suffering. We think we control the spin, but in reality the spin often controls us. Charlotte Sometimes explores these boundaries with a sure hand, while leaving us to decide exactly what will happen after the film fades to black.
December 24, 2008
It's hard to explain why I really liked this movie, but part of it is definitely the Michael character, "..a reclusive auto mechanic captivated by an enigmatic drifter", there's something about the way he handles himself that I admire, thought at times you wish he was a little less reclusive.

I like what I read on Wikipedia, "..Charlotte Sometimes is a "mysterious and erotic" romance exploring the kinds of love for which there are no names or clear arrangements"
Super Reviewer
February 18, 2009
A strange kind of love story. This left the viewer bewildered. Too much left unsaid for this viewer to be able to figure out what happened. Of this much, I am sure: there was more to this than what appeared on the surface. Deception and infidelity and longing and past loves all combined to make this very hard to decipher. And the ending leaves things ambiguous so that we can only guess how they turned out. A beautifully shot, quiet film that leaves more questions than it answers.
July 29, 2008
This film made me feel very isolated. I feel disturbed now.
½ October 26, 2007
As an antidote to talky American indies involving twentysomething romantic conundrums, the laconic Charlotte Sometimes hits just the right note.
April 29, 2008
Asian cinema seems to transcend that of other kinds (you know I mean, notably, Caucasian) while never doing many things different, as far as the arc of storytelling is concerned. It almost seems like they have a secret formula for effective execution. Just last week, I reviewed the Asian-American film about precociously dangerous teens in "Better Luck Tomorrow", where not only was fact that the characters were Asian embraced, but it added a tumultuous sensation through the film.
With "Charlotte Sometimes", director Eric Byler shows skill in his ability to focus our attention solely on four main characters. We don't care about anything else, although we could have specific questions that aren't answered (What do some of the characters do for a living? Was this shot, and meant to be set, in Los Angeles?). These questions, however, do not need to be answered because this movie is solely about relationships and the messy connections and misunderstandings among the four characters we get to know.
The most admirable quality, for me, is the subtle tone running through this film (especially, and ironically, when two characters make love). This subtlety is compared, in terms of sheer effectivness, to the intense urgency running through "Better Luck Tomorrow".
The marvelously understated tone can, and should be, equally credited to both the actors and the filmmakers. The important thing audiences must remember with "Charlotte Sometimes" is it exists entirely, and surely, as a character study... nothing more. It does not attempt to harbor groundbreaking revelations (although there are some revelations, they would be better termed realizations) it is steady in its storytelling, keeping focus on emotional connections and the painful uncertainties we all experience in relationships, especially in people we know well.
As a footnote, the film works on more levels than just in its execution: even the tagline is loaded.
"Sometimes the truth is in the lie."
I wish I could explain this wonderfully appropriate oxymoron, but the beauty in this film's intelligence should be experienced, not explained.
½ March 10, 2008
The acting is commendable, and the characters and story are fascinating. I also like the way the space of the house, the primary setting, is used.
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