Goodbye Charlie Bright is the humorous and heart-warming story of the friendship between two teenage boys from a tough council estate. Set during a long hot summer it charts the close but volatile relationship between Charlie and Justin. Goodbye Charlie Bright features powerhouse performances from Paul Nicholls (Eastenders, The Trench) as Charlie and Roland Manookian as Justin.
Too prettified and cleaned up
- Goodbye Charlie Bright review by RP
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You rated this film: 3
I waited to write a review of this film until I had seen 'Neds' which - in theory at least - deals with similar issues in that both are coming-of-age / rites-of-passage films set on a council estate. But there the similarities end. Frankly, 'Goodbye Charlie Bright' is for wimps. It's too prettified and cleaned up, from the brightly coloured garage doors (to add colour) to the digitally brightened sky (to add more colour) to the long-hot-summer setting (to add yet more brightness), to the opening streak-run. Yes, I know that was the director's intention: not to have yet another Ken Loach / Mike Leigh / social realist, gritty, grey film - but in my opinion it overshadows the message and no matter how many muggings, robberies, drug scenes, gun incidents, shootings there may be, these seem to be played for laughs. I know the gun scene with the small boy at the end is shocking, but the grinning hero's exit in the back of the police car for Justin (Roland Manookian) is too 'happy' a message for me. It really should have been a tragedy that Justin was now locked into life on the estate while Charlie (Paul Nicholls) and the others have escaped into manhood and the wide world outside. I found the sarf Landan dialogue and humour to be realistic, but why oh why were the location shots done in Kingston-on-Thames of all places? What else felt wrong - err, Dani Behr as 'Blondie' was her usual dreadful self, the awful over-the-top character of Hector (Richard Driscoll) and the fact that there isn't any coherent storyline, just what felt like a series of disconnected episodes. 'Goodbye Charlie Bright' isn't a bad film - but it isn't excellent either, so the best I can give it is 3/5 stars.