Charlie Bartlett is a pleasant spiritual surprise from an unlikely place given its prevalence teenage angst, drug use, profanity, a little bit of nudity, and dysfunctional relationships among just about everybody. What I appreciated most about this movie is that all of those subjects are not used to demean or diminish the teen experience, nor to create silly slapstick humor, but rather, to bring depth and meaning to the real relationships and experiences people have.
And more importantly, this movie explores how we are all interdependent and related – how parents and authority figures affect kids, and just as importantly, how kids affect their parents and authority figures. What emerges is a movie full of authenticity, heart, and meaningful messages that appeal to both the young and the old. We are challenged to ask ourselves, What do I really want? and then explore how our social conditioning might be preventing us from having it.