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Senior Citizen Kane: Brian & Charles

Jim Archer

An endearing outsider Brian lives alone in a Welsh valley, inventing oddball contraptions that seldom work. After finding a discarded mannequin head, Brian gets an idea. Three days, a washing machine, and sundry spare parts later, he’s invented Charles.

An artificially intelligent robot who learns English from a dictionary, has an inexplicable obsession with cabbages, and who proves to be a charming, cheeky companion. However before long, Charles develops autonomy. Intrigued by the wider world — or whatever lies beyond the cottage where Brian has hidden him away, Charles craves an adventure.

"...uniquely British tale about friendship, family, finding love, and letting go."

Jim Archer’s imaginative, heartwarming comedy about loneliness and friendship works because its characters are emotionally layered and genuine. The fact that we forget Charles isn’t “real” is testament to the physicality and voice of actor Chris Hayward, who co-wrote the screenplay. In building somebody to keep him company, Brian (British comedian and co-writer David Earl) ironically finds the self-worth to talk to Hazel, a timid neighbor he likes. But, with playful echoes of Frankenstein, he also fails to realize the emotional, developmental needs of his creation until it puts them all in danger.

Winner of the Sundance London Audience Prize, Brian and Charles is an odd-ball, heartwarming and uniquely British tale about friendship, family, finding love, and letting go.   

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