Title: Charlie Is My Darling
Director: Peter Whitehead
Reviewed by: Nick Watson
Following The Rolling Stones as they tour Ireland in 1965, Charlie Is My Darling follows the band as they play at the Adelphi Theatre in Dublin and some intimate footage of the band in their hotel rooms. Some great concert footage is paired with equally interesting interviews with the band, including original band leader Brian Jones. Charlie Is My Darling is an early example of fandom and musician celerity from a band who has endured for over 50 years, and spearheaded the British Invasion of the 60's. 24 studio albums later, The Rolling Stones are just as charming and influential as they were back when they began sharing their love of rhythm and blues to hoards of teenagers across the UK.
Clocking in at just over one hour, this is exactly the type of film that any music lover will enjoy, especially if you are a fan of The Stones.
Funny things seem to happen to The Rolling Stones when they perform live, but perhaps it is just the product of early fandom. That is, early rock and roll appropriated by white musicians caused such an uproar of both teenage hormones and excitement that the audience literally didn't know how to contain it. One of the performances in Charlie Is My Darling showcases just that phenomenon: the audience literally jumps over the barriers and begin to attack The Stones, not in a violent way, but just to touch the boys, and get a chance to sing with them. It is similar today when we see the same types of fans fawning over the likes of Bieber, screaming and fainting at the mere sight of their idol.
Charlie Is My Darling is a piece of music and culture history. It hasn't been seen by many people since it was directed by Peter Whitehead, who heavily documented the counterculture revolution in the 60's. Released in 2012, this film is one that will appeal to many a fan of the music, but for those interested in social and culture change by the influence of pop music. When fans are interviewed as to why they like Mick Jagger, or Charlie Watts, they simply answer "I dunno, I just do", or "I like his hair". Asking fans the same question today would garner completely different responses, I am sure. But seeing those youth of the 60's respond this way is endearing, they loved the band, but just couldn't express why.
The film does offer a bit of insight into the personalities of Jagger and the boys, but as usual, very little about Charlie Watts, the famously out of the spotlight band member. The boys reflect on their own stardom with a humble sense of self, but with just the right amount of ego coming though. After all, they are The Stones.
You won't walk away from Charlie Is My Darling having learned brand new information about the band, or hear unreleased tracks (although hearing Jagger sing a la Elvis Presley, and Fats Domino's "Blueberry Hill" is quite charming). But you will see the early beginnings of fandom from teenagers who began a revolution we can all be thankful for. This is the type of history that will appeal to music fans and those fascinated by popular culture.