“My name is Charly Gordon, and I live in a room, and I got no sister and no dog, and I am stupid!”
Charly (Cliff Robertson), a mentally retarded bakery worker, undergoes an experiment in “intelligence enhancement”, and quickly becomes a genius — but the results are temporary–
Response to Peary’s Review:
This “sometimes touching, sometimes soppy” sleeper doesn’t quite live up to the power of its source material (Daniel Keyes’ Hugo Award winning novella, Flowers for Algernon) yet remains a fascinating and provocative cautionary tale on the ethics of scientific experimentation. As Peary notes, Robertson does an excellent job in a difficult role, showing “that Charly is more lovable when retarded than when he is a genius,” yet making us realize the tragedy of Charly’s eventual regression. Claire Bloom as Charly’s case worker is lovely as always, and their brief romance is both touching and sad. You’re guaranteed to feel a lump in your throat by the end of this inevitably disastrous and heartbreaking story.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Cliff Robertson’s sensitive, multi-faceted portrayal as Charly
- Claire Bloom as Charly’s case worker and love interest
Yes. While opinions vary on the ultimate success of this screen adaptation (see links below), it remains must-see viewing due to Robertson’s heartfelt, Oscar-winning performance.