Rent Brian and Charles (2022)

3.4 of 5 from 323 ratings
1h 30min
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Synopsis:
"Brian and Charles" follows Brian (David Earl), a lonely inventor in rural Wales, who spends his days building quirky, unconventional contraptions that seldom work. Undeterred by his lack of success, Brian attempts his biggest project yet. Three days, a washing machine, and various spare parts later, he's invented Charles (Chris Hayward), an artificially intelligent robot who learns English from a dictionary and has an obsession with cabbages. What follows is a humorous and entirely heartwarming story about loneliness, friendship, family, finding love, and letting go.
Actors:
, , , , , , , Mari Izzard, , Sunil Patel, , , , David Edwards, , Morgan Adler, Carys Ryan
Directors:
Producers:
Rupert Majendie
Writers:
David Earl, Chris Hayward
Studio:
Mediumrare
Genres:
Comedy
BBFC:
Release Date:
24/10/2022
Run Time:
90 minutes
Languages:
English Dolby Digital 2.0, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.78:1 / 16:9
Colour:
Colour
Bonus:
  • Gag Reel
  • Twitter Q&A Featurette
  • This or That Featurette
  • Theatrical Trailer
BBFC:
Release Date:
24/10/2022
Run Time:
90 minutes
Languages:
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English LPCM Stereo
Subtitles:
English
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.78:1 / 16:9
Colour:
Colour
BLU-RAY Regions:
B
Bonus:
  • Gag Reel
  • Twitter Q&A Featurette
  • This or That Featurette
  • Theatrical Trailer

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Reviews (6) of Brian and Charles

If You Can't Find a Friend, Build One it's as Simple as That! - Brian and Charles review by DS

Spoiler Alert
04/12/2022

Despite the quirky daftness of the film the overriding driver is friendship and loyalty. Wrapped up in oddity and utter silliness, after all David Earl, a staple of many Ricky Gervais productions, where he often plays disgusting, near-perverts, is the titular Brian but this time his oddness is a lot nicer. From this point all things in the tale grow. The underlying strength of the story is demonstrated by Charles, basically a pair of legs poking out of a huge square washing machine shape topped off by a virtually immobile mannequin head, who becomes a character that you invest in and care about. A fine skill by the actor and co-writer Chris Hayward.

It is clear director Jim Archer and the writers' Earl and Hayward, who play the main roles, invested seriously in the film so that you are effectively charmed and not alienated by it being utterly daft which to an extent it is. Then to top it off just to add some more charm, maybe even ladle some on, adding into the mix Hazel, sweet and socially awkward like Brian, played with some skill by Louise Brearly.

The drama in what would definitely be a slight and odd tale comes from the antagonists Eddie, his wife and twin daughters, embodying meanness, dishonesty and an external ever-present threat. Refreshingly it is this pressure that puts a strain on the ups and downs of Brian and Charles’ relationship and not the usual contrivance of a romantic partner doing this.

The film is neither taxing on your emotions or going to cause you to cry with laughter but making you gently smile for the majority of its runtime at the silly shenanigans framed amongst some stunning and inventive shots of remote Welsh countryside means, to be frank, it is a hard heart that sets against Brian and Charles.

Perhaps the faux documentary style is the weakest point and if you pay attention you have to ask – is this a faux documentary or a straightforward tale and what are the documentary makers filming and why? Throughout the film I was constantly ruminating that this was a construct so that David Earl could use his trademark fourth wall-breaking asides that are a trademark of his work with Ricky Gervais.

I concede this is a churlish point to make about a film such as this, when all we should take from this is no matter our disagreements, no matter our lifestyles, all are valid and none can override or overshadow true friendship. Being someone’s real friend is as close to choosing your family as you can get.

If that is not a good message to pass on to the masses I do not know what is.

Brian and Charles is slight, enjoyably silly and has the best robot since Twiki first looked at Gil Gerard and said 'biddie-biddie-biddie'.

3 out of 4 members found this review helpful.

A live action Wallace & Gromit - Brian and Charles review by PT

Spoiler Alert
03/01/2023

If you are looking for a film to banish the winter blues then this joyous slice of British silliness is the one. Its infectious warmth simply bulldozes any carping about the slightness of the plot and the on/off mockumentary format into irrelevance.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

Not very funny - Brian and Charles review by AA

Spoiler Alert
28/03/2023

After watching the excerpts I thought this film would be hilarious but I was so disappointed, hardly funny at all. Good concept but just not funny enough.

0 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Critic review

Brian and Charles review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso

Brian & Charles is the little sci-fi comedy that triumphs with so little. It’s a cute and heartwarming tale about what it means to be human, treating hefty topics of humanity with a light air of simplicity. Think about how charming it is to have a film where a lonely inventor crafts a sentient robot and merely wants to bring joy to the world. This is an adorable little picture if you’re willing to go along for the ride.

Brian is established as a dorky inventor of a small village, mostly keeping to himself. His many inventions on his farm are revealed in a documentary style where cameras follow him around. Though he specializes as a local handyman, he fancies himself a clever man who always thinks up new ideas in his workshop. Sadly, most of his inventions go up in smoke. This happens quite literally when his idea for a flying bike has him scrambling for a fire extinguisher. While sorting through junk piles, he finds enough parts to make himself a robot. It’s uncertain how much experience Brian has with robots but also unimportant. All that matter is that one stormy night leads to his boxy creation of a robot coming to life, choosing the name Charles.

The relationship between Brian and Charles is simplistically sweet. They spend their days exploring the farm and interacting with animals. They spend their evenings boiling cabbage and having dance parties. Brian is reluctant to show him off to the town, given his social anxiety around others. Naturally, Charles’s daring nature inspires Brian to finally talk to that girl he has a crush on and maybe stand up to that bully on another farm. But if Brian is happy, what about Charles? Let’s just say Charles gets the ultimate wish for anyone who wants to learn more about our world.

A film like this works so well due to its dry nature that slowly warms the heart over time. I’ll be honest Brian and Charles's chemistry felt too simplistic at first. After some time, however, you get to know and love these people who only have the best intentions and ultimately want some love in their life. There’s something so perfect about the imperfect design of Charles in this regard. The design of Charles makes him look more like someone’s failed attempt to build a Jim Broadbent android. He wobbles, has no expression, and speaks in a monotone computer voice, making it sometimes difficult to gauge his emotions. And yet he becomes a loveable character for being such a simplistic design restricted from specific displays of affection.

It didn’t occur to me until much later that this is an excellent family film. Based on the premise, I expected a far more adult affair of coming to terms with loneliness and depression for the soggy setting and underdog character. The simplicity of Brian’s character being an eccentric inventor makes him a readable enough character for kids that it can be easy for them to get invested in the tale of a man and his robot. It’s also pleasing that Brian and Charles form a plan to get back at the bully that isn’t just a simple matter of violence. Although it is really funny watching Brian and Charles shoot cabbages at the local bully.

Brian and Charles is certainly not going to be everybody’s cup of tea as far as boy-and-his-robot stories go. The many gags and asides of a robot learning about the world have a relatively standard assembly, sure to be too familiar for many seasoned movie watchers. But what makes this film endure is its overwhelming heart and taking time to stop and smell the roses. Charles can’t exactly smell but does his best with what he’s given.

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