The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
The Walking Dead
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All Critics (9)
| Top Critics (4)
| Fresh (4)
| Rotten (5)
Matt Smith is miscast in the crucial role of Manson, failing to summon the cult leader's manic energy or make us understand just how it was that he had so many under his thrall.
Charlie Says is absorbing if only intermittently effective, but it has the distinction of bringing a female gaze to arguably the most notorious crime spree in American history.
So ambivalent as to be frustratingly gun-shy about truly asserting a point of view, or adding anything meaningful to the already thriving cottage industry of Manson-adjacent storytelling.
It has none of the brilliance and insight of Emma Cline's 2016 novel The Girls, on roughly the same subject.
This feels like a story not quite hitting its target.
Harron isn't able to tell us much more than what we already know, and her wafer-thin connections between the past (in the Manson farm) and the present (in jail) are too pat.
What makes Charlie Says so original is its perspective and its willingness to depict the banality and absurdity of life with Manson rather than simply to portray him as the quintessence of evil.
This is an innovative, occasionally provocative, often frustrating film, but one whose perspectives on guilt and victimhood offer a new angle on a notorious case.
Skimpy psychological insight, a clumsy structure and what turns out to be a miscast Smith all contribute towards what seems like a wasted opportunity...
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