Rob Reiner directed some of the most iconic comedies of all time like When Harry Met Sally, The Princess Bride, or This Is Spinal Tap, just to name a few. However, it’s his latest work “Being Charlie” that has people talking, and not just because the film was co-written by his son, Nick Reiner.
“Being Charlie” follows the life of a troublesome 18-year-old who struggles with drug addiction and has been in and out of drug and alcohol rehab countless times. He has a strained and difficult relationship with his father (played by Cary Elwes) who is a retired actor now running for governor of California. It’s a riveting storyline with much to teach the general public about the effects that addiction can have on a family unit. The screenplay is based on Reiner’s experience with his own son, Nick Reiner, who had tried drug addiction treatment programs and rehab multiple times between the ages of 15 and 19 before reaching stable sobriety.
The film was written by Nick Reiner and his friend, Matt Elisofon, whom he met while in treatment and was originally meant to half-hour hour comedy about life in rehab.
“But it’s a lot of stuff I experienced, a lot of stuff Matt experienced,” Nick Reiner said on NPR’s Weekend Edition. “And a lot of stuff that we witnessed people say and talk about.”
However, when Rob Reiner saw the script he knew there was a lot more depth to it and was driven to explore the storyline further.
“It was very personal,” Reiner told TODAY. “What I didn’t understand is the depth of what [Nick] was going through.”
The movie sheds light on the difficulties of life in drug addiction recovery but what is great about it is that the film not only focuses on the addicts struggle but with the family members and the friends that are close to him.
“The process of making this film forced me to see what he was experiencing but I think it forced him to see what I went through and what his mother went through and hopefully the film is a reflection of that,” Reiner explained.
There are very obvious reasons why films like this are so important and Reiner weighed in on the epidemic that is sweeping the nation. 22 million, which is approximately 8% of the population, lives with a substance use disorder (SUD). “Clearly there’s no socio-economic boundary to this. It touches everyone,” Reiner said. We couldn’t agree more.
Opens Friday, May 6th.