Ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Manson Family Murders this August, director Mary Harron explores the family and Charles Manson’s hold over the women who committed those terrible killings in the film Charlie Says.
Years after the shocking murders that made the name Charles Manson synonymous with pure evil, the three women who killed for him—Leslie Van Houten (Hannah Murray), Patricia Krenwinkel (Sosie Bacon), and Susan Atkins (Marianne Rendón)—remain under the spell of the infamous cult leader (Matt Smith). Confined to an isolated cellblock in a California penitentiary, the trio seems destined to live out the rest of their lives under the delusion that their crimes were part of a cosmic plan—until empathetic graduate student Karlene Faith (Merritt Wever) is enlisted to rehabilitate them. Convinced the prisoners are not the inhuman monsters the world believes them to be, Karlene begins the arduous process of breaking down the psychological barriers erected by Manson. But are the women ready to confront the horror of what they did? Boundary-pushing auteur Mary Harron presents a provocative new perspective on one of the most notorious crimes of the 20th century.
Written by Guinevere Turner, the film features an all-star cast that includes Matt Smith (Mapplethorpe, “The Crown”), Hannah Murray (“Game of Thrones”), Sosie Bacon (“13 Reasons Why”), Marianne Rendón (“Imposters”), Chace Crawford (“Gossip Girl”), Suki Waterhouse (Insurgent, “The White Princess”), Kayli Carter (Private Life), Annabeth Gish (“The Haunting of Hill House”), and Merritt Wever (“Nurse Jackie”).
Charlie Says (review) opens in theaters this week in LA, OC, and NY on May 10th and on VOD May 17th