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Brian And Charles (Parent And Baby Screening) (PG)

Cast: Louise Brealey, Chris Hayward, David Earl
Genre: Comedy
Author(s): Chris Hayward, David Earl
Director: Jim Archer
Release Date: 08/07/2022
Running Time: 90mins
Country: UK
Year: 2022

Brian lives alone in a tumbledown cottage in the Welsh countryside. He repurposes one cow shed as an "inventions pantry" to transform odds and ends into outlandish gadgets and appliances. Brian's most ambitious project is a 7ft tall robot companion called Charles, lovingly fashioned from a discarded mannequin's head and an old washing machine for the automaton's torso. Inventor and sentient creation become devoted companions.


LondonNet Film Review

Brian And Charles (PG) Film Review from LondonNet

Eccentricity is tightly woven into the fabric of our national identity. Expanded from a 12-minute short film released in 2017, director Jim Archer’s odd couple comedy travels into the Welsh countryside to meet a generously bearded outcast, who constructs a companion from fly-tipped scrap and gives new meaning to the art of ‘making friends’. This ramshackle mechanical sidekick is blessed with childlike curiosity reminiscent of Johnny Five in Short Circuit. A TV documentary about Honolulu inspires the robot to make a hula skirt from shredded paper and when the automaton earns praise from his master through good behaviour, he jigs excitedly back and forth…

Co-written by actors David Earl and Chris Hayward, Brian And Charles kindles dramatic tension by hard-wiring the robot with a desire to fly the nest and explore new horizons. Predictably, the inventor wants to protect his charmingly naive creation from the cruelty and intolerance that run rife in “a big perilous world” beyond the wire fences that border their remote farm. Someone or something has to give. Thankfully, the quality of Earl and Hayward’s writing doesn’t give an inch. Archer employs a fly-on-the-wall mockumentary format to intrude on his delightfully mismatched characters as they go about their day-to-day lives. The conceit doesn’t always work – some characters acknowledge the camera’s presence, others are completely oblivious.

Brian (Earl) lives alone in a tumbledown cottage in the Welsh countryside. He repurposes one cow shed as an “inventions pantry” to transform odds and ends into outlandish homemade gadgets and appliances such as a leather belt to safely transport eggs and a storage bin for cabbages. Brian’s most ambitious project is a 7ft tall robot companion called Charles (Hayward), lovingly fashioned from a discarded mannequin’s head and an old washing machine for the automaton’s torso.

Inventor and sentient creation become devoted companions on the outskirts of a close-knit community that doesn’t always treat eccentrics with kindness. Bullying farmer Eddie (Jamie Michie), his wife Pam (Nina Sosanya) and their obnoxious twins Katrina (Lowri Izzard) and Suki (Mari Izzard) are particularly spiteful and vindictive. Behind closed cottage doors, Charles soaks up knowledge from his creator and their touching relationship encourages Brian to pursue romance with neighbour Hazel (Louise Brealey), who lives with her mother and a parrot. The emotional tug of war between Hazel and Charles for Brian’s attention creates friction between the inquisitive robot and his maker.

“I don’t like hanging around with you any more,” snaps the inventor. “Then let me go,” counters Charles, affirming his desire for independence. Brian And Charles is a sweet, sincere and life-affirming ode to the square pegs, who don’t care about fitting neatly into round holes. Earl and Hayward are an adorable double act and when the possibility of separation looms large, the lump in our throats is sizeable.

– Kim Hu


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