An endearing outlier, Brian lives alone in a Welsh valley, inventing oddball contraptions that seldom work. After finding a discarded mannequin head, Brian gets an idea. Three days, a washing machine, and sundry spare parts later, he’s invented Charles, an artificially intelligent robot who learns English from a dictionary and proves a charming, cheeky companion. Before long, however, Charles also develops autonomy. Intrigued by the wider world — or whatever lies beyond the cottage where Brian has hidden him away — Charles craves adventure.
Jim Archer’s imaginative, heartwarming comedy about loneliness and friendship works because its characters are emotionally layered and genuine. That we forget Charles isn’t “real” is testament to the physicality and voice of actor Chris Hayward, who co-wrote the screenplay. In building somebody to keep him company, Brian (British comedian and co-writer David Earl) ironically finds the self-worth to talk to Hazel, a timid neighbor he likes. But — with playful echoes of Frankenstein — he also fails to realize the emotional, developmental needs of his creation until it puts them all in danger.