Movie Mondays: The Education of Charlie Banks

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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13 Responses

  1. magia says:

    I liked it too. Have you ever seen The Squid and the Whale? It’s also starring Jesse Eisenberg. I found it a little brusque, but definitely great. Highly recommended.
    PS. This is a mandatory comment so, I have to say i loove your blog :)

  2. Rita says:

    Defnately need to see it! :)

  3. Wow, it looks good. I’ll have to give it a look.
    & yes, I always think of Jesse Eisenberg as the other Michael Cera.

  4. Cheryl says:

    This sounds like I may have to rent it! And Jesse Eisenberg? Total Michael Cera stand-in. When I first saw Zombieland, I felt as if they had cast the part for Michael Cera but then couldn’t get him so they turned to this guy.

  5. Michelle says:

    no way! jesse eisenberg is soo great in The Social Network..

  6. kristin says:

    ha! i would agree w/ you about jesse being michael cera 2.0 anywho i’ve heard of this movie, but never knew what it was about. gonna have to check it out now.

  7. Thank you so so much for reviewing this. It has been on my instant que for a year now and I keep skipping over it. I think it is time that I DON’T do that and finally watch it. Looks wonderful!

  8. Nicole says:

    I’ll give it a try! I love your blog! Definitely following!

  9. bargain bex says:

    i stumbled across this movie as one of my indie film findings and loved every second of it.
    i’m both a jesse eisenberg and michael cera fan, but always feel a bit the cougar (my 30 years of age to their NOT 30 years of age) when i admit it ;)
    bex.

  10. Monique says:

    I just added this film to my cue. Can’t wait to check it out.

  11. I love the films you write about on your blog, they are all ones I adore and seem to forget about over time then you remind me of them and I’m able to watch them once again!
    Thank you!

  12. I also like the older ( 1980s ) movies mostly, recently I have watched the movies named flubber, and also the complete series of back to the future. I would surely try to watch this one too. thanks for sharing.

  13. I just watched this one not too long ago, and I really liked it, so I’m so glad you posted about it.
    I thought there could have been a little more tension between Mick and Charlie (I like intense movies and I thought the awkwardness between the two of them could have been pushed much further). What surprised me was that I thought it was more of a coming of age story for Mick. Maybe it’s Jason Ritter’s amazing acting, but you could see how desperately he wanted a better life for himself, but in the end realizes that he just can’t break the cycle and that his ghosts are always going to follow him. I love how we can all watch the same piece and take something different away!