'Charly' is a tear-jerker

Published: Friday, Aug. 10 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Charlene "Charly" Riley (Heather Beers) and Sam Robertson (Jeremy Hoop) in the passenger seat in the movie "Charly." The movie is being shown in theaters for its 10-year anniversary start Aug. 10 to benefit West Ridge Academy.

Focused Light Films

It's been 10 years since "Charly" was first released, and it's now back in theaters.

"Charly" is a sweet story that is a little predictable in the first half and a tear-jerker in the second.

For those who didn't see the movie 10 years ago (like me) or need a refresher on the story line (like me, since I hadn't read the book either), here it is.

Based on the novel by Jack Weyland, "Charly" is the story of Charlene "Charly" Riley (Heather Beers), whose family has recently moved to Salt Lake City. She's a free-spirited artist, and her family is more than a little leery of Mormons. But her father would like to see her with a nicer young man than she typically dates.

Sam Robertson (Jeremy Hoop) is a squeaky clean, if not rigid, member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose father works with Charly's father. Sam ends up picking up Charly from the airport and attempts to show her around the city. When she takes the wheel of his dad's convertible, they end up on a Ferris wheel.

They couldn't be more different in how they see life — him through his faith and her through cynical honesty — and their expectations for love, as Sam is searching/waiting for his eternal companion and Charly is almost engaged to her boyfriend.

Charly takes a few lessons from the missionaries but has a hard time believing it. Sam has a hard time not falling for her and, in his own almost painfully awkward way, tries to share his faith.

As their relationship progresses and they both change — she softens with a change of heart, and he isn't quite so uptight — Charly's challenges are just beginning. Her father isn't exactly supportive and her boyfriend surely isn't going to understand.

As for Sam, he didn't realize that she has "a past" and has to figure out a way to earn her trust.

But those aren't the only challenges. Even greater tests of faith loom.

Throughout the movie, it's difficult to tell exactly how much time has passed and, subsequently, difficult to gauge the time frame of the characters' changes. It's also fairly amusing to be reminded that 10 years ago not everyone carried cellphones (Sam's PDA is never far) and movie rentals were largely in a VHS format.

"Charly" is a story of love, faith and hope that is soundly a Mormon chick-flick. Tissues will be necessary by the end of the show.

This 10-year anniversary re-release benefits West Ridge Academy, which is a non-profit center for struggling youths and their families.

"Charly" is rated PG for thematic elements. Running time: 1 hour, 58 minutes

'Charly' trailer

For the 10-year anniversary of "Charly," it is being released back to movie theaters on Friday, Aug. 10.

Email: rappleye@desnews.com

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