Movie Mondays: The Education of Charlie Banks
I wasn’t sure what I would think of this 1970s/1980s period piece starring Jesse Eisenberg, who is often known as (at least in my circle of friends) a Michael Cera alternate. Fortunately I was really pleased with the screenplay, tremendous acting, and cinematography of the entire film.
The story begins as Charlie Banks, a high school student, witnesses a brutal fight instigated by neighborhood bully Mick, played by Jason Ritter, son of the late John Ritter. Charlie, under much pressure from his good conscience and wise father, rats out Mick to the principal of the school. After realizing his own wellbeing might be in danger, he later recants, and decides that his own personal reputation is more important than justice in this case.
Well, Charlie goes on with his life, forgetting about Mick and high school problems. He and his best friend become roommates in college, and everything is just peachy until Mick turns up on campus. Charlie’s roommate offers to let Mick stay with them, but Charlie is very concerned that Mick knows that all of those years ago it was he who turned Mick in to the authorities.
Around Mick, Charlie is always on edge, not sure where he stands, whether he can trust or befriend this guy who was such a maniac in high school. The plot develops quite delicately and draws the viewers into the development of each character, major and minor. You might be surprised by the climactic ending, but the ending isn’t what really matters. The story is meant to be more about the process, as it is more of a morality/coming of age story of the boy, Charlie Banks.
I would definitely recommend this story, but with caution. If you are sensitive to swearing and violence (also some sexuality), I would steer clear of this movie.