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Charlie Says Blu-ray Review


“Charlie Says” is a compelling look at the Manson girls.

Written by Guinevere Turner and directed by Mary Harron (best known for “American Psycho”), “Charlie Says” is less about Charles Manson and more about the Manson girls (namely Leslie, Patricia, and Susan). The film takes an unusual storytelling approach but focusing on the three women during their time in prison and before (and leading up to) the horrifying murders they committed. In the prison timeline, a graduate student named Karlene is assigned to rehabilitate them in order to make them realize the reality of their situation and to take accountability for their actions. In the past, we follow the three women at Spahn Ranch with Charlie and his followers as they attempt to live off the land and be free.

If you’ve seen and have been enamored by Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood,” I can say that “Charlie Says” actually makes a great companion piece to it. The big difference between the two films is that this one is actually based on true events.

While writer Guinevere Turner’s story never really gets to the bottom of the psychology and decisions of the Manson girls, it’s clear that this was meant to be more of a story about the actual women behind the crime and the concepts of blind devotion and brainwashing (which sadly remains a relevant topic of discussion today). In that the movie is a success as Harron and company do a commendable job of taking viewers back to the dark, stomach churning chaos of 1969 while also shedding light on the mad egotistical cult leader who coaxed these women into unspeakable acts.

The cast here is first rate. Aside from a few roles, Matt Smith has been underutilized as an actor since his days of being on “Doctor Who.” Thankfully, alongside “The Crown,” he gets to shine here and shine he does as he transforms into Charles Manson. He gives a truly eerie and unnerving performance. Hannah Murray (perhaps best known as Gilly from “Game of Thrones”) is in many ways the main character of the story as we (the audience) are led into the world of Manson through her perspective. She has quite a deep role to play here and takes full advantage of it. Perhaps the best performance here (to me at least) is Sosie Bacon (“13 Reasons Why”) as the woefully naive Patricia. With mere expressions, she says so much with her character who so badly wants to be apart of something and believe in Manson all while her life crumbles around her. More people should be talking about her performance here. It’s that good.


Presentation: 2.40:1 1080p. How does it look? Despite being a little fuzzy, this is a quality hi-def transfer.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The 5.1 track does the job.

* “Charlie Says” trailer and IFC/Shout Factory Films trailers
* The 6 minute “Making Of Charlie Says” with set footage, cast and crew interviews, discussions about the film and real life story, etc.

August 5, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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