There Is so Much More to This Than the Poster Lets On

There Is so Much More to This Than the Poster Lets On

(L to R) David Earl stars as Brian and Chris Hayward stars as Charles in director Jim Archer's BRIAN AND CHARLES, a Focus Features release. [Credit: Courtesy of Focus Features]

Brian and Charles


Genre: Comedy
Year Released: 2022
Runtime: 1h 30m
Director(s): Jim Archer
Writer(s): David Earl, Chris Hayward
Cast: David Earl, Chris Hayward
Where To Watch: In select theaters Friday, 6/17

The story isn’t all that different from others that have come before. However, the execution and performances in the film give it a warmth that shocks you throughout. The most unique of the unique, this is a hilarious film, yet one that asks some deep questions simultaneously. The director of the movie Jim Archer takes a unique approach, stating that he wouldn’t want to dictate to anyone who watches it what interpretation they should have” while watching the film.

The only thing I could even think to compare this to was a mix of EX MACHINA, PINOCCHIO, LARS AND THE REAL GIRL, and just a twist of FRANKENSTEIN. Even then, that’s a stretch because this is something unique and different that mainly pays homage to films with similar style stories. It’s remarkable how the simple story conveyed such emotion with something most would argue is kind of silly looking.

I genuinely feel like lightning was captured in a bottle when director Jim Archer, David Earl, who plays Brian, and Chris Hayward, who plays Charles, form this trio and create this charming film. Part of the joy comes with the style of the film; while it’s a live-action story, it’s done in such a way that it’s meant to feel like a part of a documentary.

More than anything, the film is a story about friendship and the power that one can have. This is twofold as the dependence on a friendship can also have equally bad results. The look and feel of the film are as unique as the basic idea of the film itself, and we see a very tonal setting in the film. You know from the start that this takes place at a particular time. Although you may not be able to pinpoint that from the look, you know that feeling based on colors, clothes, etc. The production designer described the importance of the design as “enormous because it sits on a beautiful reality/fantasy knife-edge.”

Ultimately BRIAN AND CHARLES is the result of letting go and letting creators create. While I enjoy big blockbuster popcorn flicks, I long for personal and unique films like this. I can’t imagine a movie like this being made by a huge studio. Thankfully Focus Features and other smaller production companies exist that (even though giants own them) allow for creators to tell their stories the way they should be. If we ever lose this, I fear for what we’ll ultimately be left with.

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