Brian and Charles, directed by Jim Archer and written by David Earl and Chris Hayward, is a comedy with a lot of heart. Shot documentary-style in the beginning, someone comes to interview Brian (David Earl) about his inventions. Brian lives alone in a rural England area, and when the loneliness becomes too much, he decides to build a robot from various parts. He names the robot Charles (Chris Hayward). Though parts drag and there is a syrupy sweetness, Brian and Charles is an adorable tale of a man and his robot with a heartwarming message. 

Who Wouldn’t Want a Companion

David Earl stars as Brian and Chris Hayward stars as Charles in director Jim Archer's BRIAN AND CHARLES
(L to R) David Earl stars as Brian and Chris Hayward stars as Charles in director Jim Archer’s BRIAN AND CHARLES, a Focus Features release. Credit Courtesy of Focus Features

When Brian first builds Charles, Brian delights that he now has a companion. Charles spends time learning, enjoying cabbage with Brian, and dancing. The pair made me smile, but hearing The Turtles “Happy Together” during their montage was too sugary. Despite some knowledge, Charles has an innocence that tugs at the heart. Brian also exudes kindness and caring. Still, because of Brian’s constant strange inventions, the people in the small town consider him odd.  

This part of Brian and Charles is sweet but not as memorable. When Charles gets rebellious, the story gets interesting. Though friends, there is a parent/child dynamic as the overprotective parent forbids their child to go out of the yard. But Charles wants to travel and does not want to spend the rest of his days living with Brian and eating cabbage. I wondered where the food goes that Charles eats, but it must be in the washing machine that makes up his chest. Amidst this, a romance blossoms between Brian and Hazel (Louise Brealey), thanks to Charles taking the initiative for the pair. 

Conflict Takes A While To Arrive

David Earl stars as Brian and Chris Hayward stars as Charles in director Jim Archer's BRIAN AND CHARLES
(L to R) David Earl stars as Brian and Chris Hayward stars as Charles in director Jim Archer’s BRIAN AND CHARLES, a Focus Features release. Credit Courtesy of Focus Features

As Brian forbids Charles to go to town, conflict arises between them. Charles becomes a sulky teenager. But Charles is in the right. Brian is also right to be cautious since small-town bully, Eddie (Jamie Michie) torments Brian and the rest of the townsfolk. Brian fears what Eddie and his family will do to Charles if they learn he exists. While this is a coming-of-age story for Charles, Brian develops confidence and strength to protect Charles. 

The Cast Delivers An Oh So Sweet Tale

David Earl stars as Brian and Louise Brealey as Hazel in director Jim Archer's BRIAN AND CHARLES
(L to R) David Earl stars as Brian and Louise Brealey as Hazel in director Jim Archer’s BRIAN AND CHARLES, a Focus Features release. Credit: Courtesy of Focus Features

David Earl and Chris Hayward do a great job; of delivering characters with facets to them. Jamie Michie as Eddie exudes the cocky bully happy to be the big fish bullying the smaller ones in his pond. There is no lack of talent onscreen. But they spend a lot of time building up to the conflict. The unknown person filming Brian does not serve a purpose beyond giving the audience this introduction.

The movie reminds me of Luca, as there is a coming-of-age tale and a train. I adored that film. I enjoyed Brian and Charles, but it was not memorable. Charles stands out because of his distinct appearance and voice. But, taking in the entirety of the film, no scenes or dialogue made me want to commit the moment to memory. Still, Brian and Charles delivers a story with a message for parents to let go and young adults to fly free. 

Brian and Charles trailer from Focus Features via Youtube