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Charlie Says

  • Drama
  • 2018
  • Mary Harron
  • 105 mins
  • 15

Summary

Premiere. Three years after the infamous Manson murders, which shocked the world in 1969, graduate student Karlene Faith is tasked with teaching Leslie Van Houten, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Susan Atkins, young women who were involved in the homicides. Director Mary Harron's biographical drama, starring Hannah Murray, Matt Smith and Sosie Bacon.

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Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The title of this true-crime drama might conjure memories of those old child-safety adverts from the 1970s, but Charlie Says is anything but cosy, nostalgic viewing. American Psycho director Mary Harron's film about the Manson Family focuses on the three women who were put on death row for their involvement in the 1969 Tate/LaBianca murders. Graduate student Karlene Faith (Merritt Wever) is given access to the incarcerated trio, but struggles to break through the brainwashing they received during their time in Charles Manson's California commune. In a surprise piece of casting, Doctor Who's Matt Smith plays Manson in the flashback sequences, with the former Time Lord not only nailing the accent but also channelling the beady-eyed intensity of the cult leader. Fellow Brit Hannah Murray also impresses as Leslie Van Houten, nicknamed "Lulu", and it's through her innocent eyes that we witness the 1960s hippy dream turn sour, as free love gives way to paranoia and grim violence. Although uncomfortably lurid in places, the film stops short of the full-on exploitative treatment it could have warranted. And while it never excuses the actions of the women, it does dare to suggest that cold-blooded killers can be victims themselves.

How to watch

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Credits

Cast

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Leslie "Lulu" Van HoutenHannah Murray
Charles MansonMatt Smith
Patricia "Katie" KrenwinkelSosie Bacon
Susan "Sadie" AtkinsMarianne Rendon
Karlene FaithMerritt Wever
Mary BrunnerSuki Waterhouse
Tex WatsonChace Crawford
Lynette "Squeaky" FrommeKayli Carter
Virginia CarlsonAnnabeth Gish

Crew

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DirectorMary Harron

Details

Language
English
Guidance
violence, swearing, sex scenes, drug abuse
Available on
DVD
Formats
Colour
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