Charlie Says (2018 film)

Charlie Says is a 2018 American biographical drama film directed by Mary Harron and starring Matt Smith as infamous killer Charles Manson.

Charlie Says
Charlie Says (2018 film) poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMary Harron
Produced by
  • Cindi Rice
  • Jeremy M. Rosen
  • John Frank Rosenblum
Written byGuinevere Turner
Based on
The Family: The Story of Charles Manson's Dune Buggy Attack Battalion
Music byKeegan DeWitt
CinematographyCrille Forsberg
Edited byAndrew Hafitz
  • Epic Level Entertainment
  • Roxwell Films
Distributed byIFC Films
Release date
  • September 2, 2018 (2018-09-02) (Venice)
  • May 10, 2019 (2019-05-10) (United States)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$83,069[1][2]

It had its world premiere at the 75th Venice International Film Festival on September 2, 2018 and was released on May 10, 2019, by IFC Films.


The film is based on the books, The Family, by Ed Sanders, and The Long Prison Journey of Leslie Van Houten, by Karlene Faith, Ph.D.

The film documents the work of Ms. Faith with the Manson women, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Leslie Van Houten, at the California Institution for Women, in the mid-1970s.

It shows how Ms. Faith, as a young graduate student, helped the Manson women come to understand the magnitude of their crimes, and eventually renounce Charles Manson.



In January 2016, Mary Harron and Guinevere Turner were announced to be directing and writing a film based on the life and crimes of Charles Manson and his followers.[3]

In February 2018, the casting began, with Matt Smith cast to play Manson, and Hannah Murray, Odessa Young, Marianne Rendón, Merritt Wever, Carla Gugino, Kayli Carter and Suki Waterhouse among the supporting cast.[4] Chace Crawford and Sosie Bacon were cast in March 2018, with Gugino no longer set to star in the film.[5][6] Annabeth Gish joined the film in April.[7]


It had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 2, 2018.[8] Shortly after, IFC Films acquired U.S. distribution rights to the film.[9] It was released on May 10, 2019.[10]


On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 59% based on 70 reviews, with an average rating of 5.87/10. The site's consensus states: "Charlie Says approaches its infamous subject from a welcome new angle, but suffers from a disappointing lack of depth in its treatment of the story".[11] On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 57 out of 100, based on 21 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[12]


  1. ^ "Charlie Says (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  2. ^ "Charlie Says (2019)". The Numbers. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
  3. ^ Lincoln, Ross A. (January 28, 2016). "'American Psycho' Team Mary Harron & Guinevere Turner Reunite For Manson Pic 'The Family'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  4. ^ Kay, Jeremy (February 6, 2016). "Matt Smith, Hannah Murray join Charles Manson drama 'Charlie Says'". Screen Daily. Screen International. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  5. ^ Kit, Borys (March 21, 2018). "Chace Crawford Joins Charles Manson Drama 'Charlie Says'". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  6. ^ Ritman, Alex (March 26, 2018). "Sosie Bacon Joins Manson Drama 'Charlie Says' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  7. ^ Ritman, Alex (April 4, 2018). "'X-Files' Star Annabeth Gish Joins Manson Drama 'Charlie Says' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  8. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (July 25, 2018). "Venice Film Festival Lineup: Welles, Coen Brothers, Cuaron, Greengrass, More – Live". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  9. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (September 10, 2018). "Manson Family Drama 'Charlie Says' Picked Up by IFC Films for U.S. (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  10. ^ "Charlie Says". IFC Films. Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  11. ^ "Charlie Says (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  12. ^ "Charlie Says Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved April 28, 2020.

External linksEdit