Brian and Charles (2022): A Delightfully Inventive, Robotic Comedy

“Brian and Charles” is directed by Jim Archer (Down in London, The Young Offenders) and stars the film’s writers, David Earl and Chris Hayward, as the titular man and robot duo. This film centers around an inventor named Brian. He has a history of inventing, building, crafting, and assembling whatever he can find either in his sights or his mind. It has practically become his life. One day, Brian decides to build a robot. Once the robot is built, the two develop an unlikely bond, allowing Brian to have someone close in his mostly isolated life.

First off, I want to apologize for not posting in awhile. This is the longest I have gone in years without making a new post after a previous one. I usually do at least one post every seven days, but that has been broken. I cannot promise whether or not this could happen again, but just know I am still invested in Scene Before. It has been a busy couple weeks, and I cannot say my non-blog related productivity will come to an end this week. Either way, I am finally glad to be able to talk about this movie because I love you, my viewers, the ones who stick around. And also, spoiler, this is a good movie. I am happy to give it some promotion.

I happened to flock to “Brian and Charles” on a whim. I already saw a couple movies earlier in the week, and I probably would not have gone to “Brian and Charles” if it were not for my AMC A-List membership. I was going to see this film at a press screening, but my plans to see “Lightyear” conflicted with that, so I passed on it. Speaking of passing, time passed long enough for me to watch the trailer for “Brian and Charles” on a Saturday afternoon. Next thing I knew, forty minutes later, I was in the cinema. Unlike “Lightyear,” which I eagerly awaited for months, “Brian and Charles” sort of came out of nowhere for me, but the little marketing I saw in advance intrigued me. It felt like an intimate spin on our relationship with technology.

Having walked out of “Brian and Charles,” there is definitely an intimate relationship. Although it is not necessarily with technology despite what the movie visualizes. The best way I can describe “Brian and Charles” is that it is a fun, entertaining parody on particular relationships between a parent and their child. Now, Brian never developed or adopted a human child in this movie. Sorry if this minute, irrelevant detail is a spoiler, there is nothing I can do about it. In a way, Charles, the robot Brian builds and attaches himself to, is heavily personified. It is not so much a robot as it is some sort of equivalent to Brian’s son. It is weird to think about, but the weirdness of this film is also what makes it work, it makes it charming.

To enhance a point in this review I would like to harken back to one of the films I reviewed last year. An animated feature by the name of “Ron’s Gone Wrong.” That film does something in its script that becomes a notable character trait. If you have seen that movie, you’d know that the defective B-bot played by Zach Galifinakis speaks in complete sentences, but as some robots tend to do, he says his words in a particularly similar pattern from start to finish and certain words are repeated throughout the film in the exact same tone. As much as I like Zach Galifinakis, his portrayal of the B-Bot became annoying throughout the film. But that also may have to do with the writing, the directing, and the post production so Galifankis is not necessarily the one to blame. My point is, this is a tactic that is similarly realized with Charles the robot in “Brian and Charles.” Although in this case, unlike Galifinakis’s human-like voice being featured in a defective piece of technology, this movie allows us to hear the voice of Chris Hayward, who from scene one emits Stephen Hawking vibes. Not only does the voice sound robotic, the way it shifts from word to word is incredible. Every pronunciation feels singular and I imagine much like “Ron’s Gone Wrong,” a lot of intensive editing, whether it was on camera or in post, went into making this voice believable.

Despite this accurately robotic voice, the human-like components within Charles are clear. This movie ended up subverting my expectations a bit because if you watch the trailer, I thought of the relationship between Brian and Charles to be that of close friends. At times, it does feel like that, but again, it also feels like Brian is Charles’s dad, allowing for some scenes where Brian is pictured as the bigger man and Charles as the one who has to listen to his master.

Despite being the bigger man, Brian is not the only character with a major goal throughout the film. There is a saying that kids grow up fast. And as I grow up, I realize more and more that I want to go out into the world, see some things I have never seen before. I want to tread my own path, whether it is through a career, education, or in the case that this movie presents, travel. This movie has an entertaining plot thread where Charles finds out about Honolulu, Hawaii. For the record, this movie is set in rural Wales, meaning that a trip to Hawaii is not only expensive, but far. These are two factors that many people would consider before traveling. Not Charles. Without going into much detail, this is not only entertaining and hilarious, but it enhances the movie’s metaphor about growing up, evolving as a child or parent for that matter. No matter who you are you have to sometimes take risks. They could be for one’s own good, they could build character. It also shows how little of a concept children have of time and money. When I went to on vacation in the White Mountains or Orlando when I was younger, money was not the first thing that came to mind. My initial thoughts were in regard to the attractions or a game plan. The moment Charles saw Honolulu on the television, he had an endless desire to go. It reminded me of a toddler who sees a store they know or a toy they recognize and they will do anything to either go in the store or have their parents buy said toy.

This story is a special case amongst movies featuring robots. There are a lot of movies out there like “The Terminator” or “2001: A Space Odyssey” where they have the same clear lesson. Don’t trust technology, don’t trust A.I.. This movie does not have that lesson. And like a vast number of the movies I would put in the same category as those two, there really is not much action or futuristic elements involved. It was nice to see a movie with robots that felt more down to earth than others. Even “Interstellar,” or the recent animation “Lightyear” which have friendly A.I. characters, are galactic adventures. Those movies are not 100% down to earth. Aside from being a cute odd couple comedy, “Brian and Charles” excels by not always relying on all the cliches, even if the movie has predictable moments, which it does. Nevertheless, I do recommend the movie. It is different, but if you like different, you might like the film.

In the end, “Brian and Charles” is not my favorite movie of the year, but its unique charm is enough to make it one of 2022’s most delightful surprises. I am in my early twenties and for the past few years I have seen certain movies that reminded me of a certain time in my life, part of this movie did that in regard to my present. A good movie can entertain you, while a really good movie can enhance or remind you of who you are. This one did both of those things. Despite my recent recommendation, this is definitely not a movie for everyone, but it is a movie for me. Maybe it will be for you too. I am going to give “Brian and Charles” a 7/10.

“Brian and Charles” is now playing in theatres, that is if it is still in theatres, I cannot find any showtimes… That said, if it is not playing at a theatre near you, please check out the film when it hits streaming services and DVD shelves. It is worth a watch. It is quirky, fun, and an all round delight. Give it a go.

Thanks for reading this review! My next review is going to be for “The Black Phone” directed by Scott Derrickson. I just saw the movie a week and a half ago and I cannot wait to share my thoughts on it. I have some things to say. Also, this week is the release of “Thor: Love and Thunder!” I will be seeing the movie Thursday night, so I will be trying my best to get a review out as quick as I can. And per usual, like every other movie I review, including Marvel titles, I will do my best to avoid spoilers. If you want to see this and more from Scene Before, follow the blog either with an email or WordPress account! Also, check out the official Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Brian and Charles?” What did you think about it? Or, what is a place you have been dying to see in your travels? Internationally, I think London, certain parts of New Zealand, and Tokyo are close to the top of my list. List your picks down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s