2019 is set to be a big year for movies portraying Charles Manson. Just next month, for instance, The Haunting of Sharon Tate will see Ben Mellish in the role opposite Hilary Duff as the killer’s most famous victim. After that, Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood will be bringing us Damon Herriman’s take on the figure when it drops in July. And in between, you have Charlie Says, which is headed for cinemas in just under two months from now.
In the new trailer above, you can see Matt Smith in title role surrounded by the women he indoctrinated into his cult. What distinguishes Charlie Says from the two aforementioned films is that it seeks to put us into the mindset of the people that Manson coerced into committing terrible actions – a premise which sounds very much in the wheelhouse of American Psycho writer-director Mary Harron.
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From the look of things, the film is told partly in flashback as graduate student Karlene Faith, played by Nurse Jackie actress Merritt Wever, pays visits to Manson’s incarcerated followers in an effort to remind them of who they used to be. At the same, the trailer hints at the ways in which members of the Manson Family were encouraged to let go of their past lives and start anew. As Sosie Bacon’s character puts it, “Our lives started when we met Charlie.”
The movie premiered back in September at the Venice Film Festival, and since then, the critical reception hasn’t been particularly kind. As it stands, the film sits at 44% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 9 reviews, with multiple critics calling out Smith in particular as a miscast. Nonetheless, you can judge for yourself if Charlie Says is a worthy addition to the ongoing Manson movie trend when it arrives in theaters on May 10th, 2019.