Charlie Bartlett is a 2007 American comedy-drama film directed by Jon Poll. The screenplay by Gustin Nash focuses on a teenager who begins to dispense therapeutic advice and prescription drugs to the student body at his new high school in order to become popular.
The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on May 1, 2007, and was shown at the Cannes Film Market, the Maui Film Festival, and the Cambridge Film Festival before going into theatrical release in the United States and Canada on August 3, 2007. The movie had received mixed reviews from critics and was a technical box-office failure, earning back only $5.2 million of its $12 million budget.
The son of a depressed but doting mother (Hope Davis) and a father who is serving time for tax evasion, wealthy teenager Charlie Bartlett (Anton Yelchin) – after being expelled from several private academies for various infractions – enrolls in a public school run by embittered alcoholic Principal Nathan Gardner (Robert Downey Jr.), who was formerly a history teacher. Unable to fit in with most of his fellow students, Charlie forms an alliance with school bully Murphy Bivens (Tyler Hilton) and offers him half the proceeds from the sale of a variety of prescription drugs Charlie obtains by feigning physical and emotional symptoms during sessions with different psychiatrists.