Just Charlie (2017) Review

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Charlie Lyndsay is a potential football star and being watched by different academies as he impresses for his current team. But Charlie at 14 years old is struggling to deal with a secret he has always carried, that he is a girl trapped in a boy’s body. Everything that will unfold will test the family as she dreams of being happy.

Considering this seems to be a growing concern with children and teenagers I thought it was the ideal film to watch, I work in football as well so found the fact it was surrounding a talented footballer to make the story even stronger. Especially with the relationship between Charlie and the father. His life was sorted out right, top talent and Manchester City wanted to sign his son, what could possibly go wrong?

Well, entering puberty made the problem even tougher for Charlie as he could not cope with the body changes in the way that he did not want, constantly being envious of his older sister and her clothes. Taking part in a wedding also sparking his longing to actually be himself or should that be herself. I super tough subject matter and I felt the story in the film and performances were fantastic in creating a very real story.

At times I felt that I should not be watching, that was how personal it seemed to be. It didn’t feel like watching a film, it felt like you are just watching someone’s life unfold before your eyes. I think that really does show just how incredible Harry Gilby is as Charlie, a young actor who puts in such an amazing performance and I really was blown away by the level he gets to in this film. It certainly cannot have been an easy role to take on with the subject matter of the film.

The most important message and thing to take from this film is to remember that this really is happening to young people across the country and around the world, especially when hitting those teenage years when they really do feel the most trapped. Their body is changing but not in the way that they feel it should be, I guess this is really something that you cannot even begin to imagine how it feels. I do hope though that a film like this can actually help young people who have this confusion and give them hope that one day they can be accepted for who they are inside. Also allowing family members to have an insight into how they are feeling as we see many different reactions from all family members. The scene with the Nanna was particularly heartbreaking! The father struggled the most and could not accept that his little boy wanted to be a girl.

The running time is around 97 minutes and I will admit that it actually felt longer than that. I am not meaning that in a bad way I just found the film to be a very difficult watch at times, you feel so sorry for Charlie and some of the scenes are pretty brutal. But at the end of the day those brutal moments are very much real. Going through the different stages of acceptance. I thought the football coach was very understanding and came across on a great way! The school was not so great about the situation, that is something I would have hoped would have been better. The falling out with his best friend until they made up and realised it didn’t really matter which gender was a great moment when the parents couldn’t accept it. The only think I wasn’t so sure about was if Charlie would be allowed to play football for a girl’s team or not? I work in football so found that very interesting.

A very well acted British film that has so many messages for young people struggling to accept who they are and what can be done about it and how they can be supported throughout the truly difficult time.

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