Flowers for Algernon (2000) Script

I want to be a dancer.

I want to be a ballerina, and dance on my toes.

I wanna drive an 18 wheeler with a load of eggs in the back.

And I want to drive fast, on the road with lots of bumps.

And when I get to where I'm going, I'm gonna open up the back, and none of them eggs would be broken.

And then my dad would be proud, and Miss Kinian will be pleased.

Then... then I could take out girls, and they wouldn't even care about my damn legs, or my damn head, because I would be a big shot!

I want to learn.

I think Charlie's the school's best candidate.

Hey, Charlie!

Hurry up with that flour!

I'm coming, Ollie!

Tony, how many bags?

Hey, Charlie, do me a favor.

Well, just a sec.

I gotta give this flour to Oliver.

Well, I only need you for a second, Charlie.

Hey, Frankie, give me a hand.

I need you to pick up that bread pan.

It dropped on the floor.

Just let me put these bags down.

Hey, Mr. Donner always told you not to carry more than you're able.

If you think you can handle that load, surely you can pick up a bread pan.

Hey, Charlie!

I need the flour!

Just a sec.

Come on, Charlie.

OK, Gimpy.

Yeah, go for it.

Go for it.

Here we go.

That's it.

Come on.

That's it.

Yeah.

Yeah.

Come on, Charlie.

Come on.

Oh!

Yes!

Yeah!

What did I tell ya, Charlie?

You're beautiful, Charlie.

Boy, I sure pulled a Charlie Gordon.

Oh, you sure did.

You guys.

Mornin'.

Hey, Charlie.

How's it going? Going good.

Work OK? Aw, yeah.

Thank you.

Another beautiful day, huh, Charlie?

Yeah. Come here, you.

I have to go. Come on.

No, seriously.

No, no, you have to stay.

Come on, Billy.

Come on.

Just hold me.

I've got something better than breakfast.


OK, class, we'll see you tomorrow.

We're going to the planetarium, so don't forget to pack a lunch.

Bernice, you forgot last time.

I'm going now.

Bye!

Bye.

Bye.

Here's everything for you.

I'm sorry.

Bye, Miss Kinian.

Bye.

Bye.

Bye!

See ya.

Charlie, can I see you for a moment?

Bye.

I'll see you tomorrow.

See you tomorrow.

I know I forgot to pack a lunch last time, but this time I'll bring some day old bread from the bakery, and everybody can have a sandwich!

That's sweet of you, Charlie, but that's not what I want to talk to you about.

Well, don't worry.

It's good.

Sit down.

Charlie, do you remember the other day when that man, Doctor Strauss, came to visit?

He was asking people questions?

That's right.

And the reason he was asking questions was because he's looking for someone to do an experiment.

What kind of experiment?

Well, it involves an operation, and a lot of things even I don't understand... but it's very safe, and it's worked very well before, except it only worked on laboratory animals.

Animals?

This time Dr. Strauss has permission to try it on a human being.

And if it succeeds, it can make that human being very smart.

Dr. Strauss wants to do the experiment to me?

Maybe.

We don't know yet.

He has to do some more tests.

But he was very impressed with you the other day.

I gave the right answers?

Yes, you did.

Try not to get your hopes up.

There are other people that he's interviewing, and we still have to get permission from your mother.

Charlie, what is it?

She won't even see me.

She won't have to see you.

She just has to sign a paper.

And maybe after the operation, she'll want to see you.

You'll be famous.

Your picture will be in all the papers.

I don't want to be famous.

I just want to be a genius.

Why?

So I can have lots of friends who will like me.

So I can make my mother be proud.

Now, I want you to take a look at this card, Charlie.

What do you see on this card?

People see all kinds of things in these ink blots.

I don't see nothing.

Sure you do.

Take a good, hard look.

Maybe I should get some glasses, Burt.

No Charlie.

I mean, tell me what it makes you think of.

It makes me think of someone spilled some black paint.

Yeah.

But... what's in the black paint?

People say it reminds them of things.

They see pictures.

Oh. Yeah.

I see.

What do you see?

Pictures of black paint.

You know what this is, Charlie?

What?

A maze.

Amazed. No.

A maze.

You know, like... zzt.

Zzt.

And... anyway, look.

Now, I'm going to give you this magic wand.

Hold on, hold on.

Let me show you first.

And I want you to use it... start here at the beginning, OK?

And use the wand to make a path through the maze, just like this.

Now, you see that little box at the end, over there?

That says finish?

That's where you want to get to, all right?

Now, if you go off track, you'll probably get a little zap.

It's not going to hurt you, or anything.

I'll just lead you in the right direction, OK?

Hold on.

Ready?

And... go.

Ow!

Ow!

I'm not very good at tests, Burt.

That's OK, Charlie.

This isn't a test.

What is it, then?

It's a game.

How come it's not fun, Burt?

Ow!

I'm sorry, Burt.

It's too hot. Hey, that's all right.

Don't worry about it.

You did fine.

I thought I could do it, too.

I was feeling lucky, see?

I had my lucky penny, and my rabbit's foot.

I don't think anybody can win this game, Burt.

You know what, Charlie?

You're right.

It is hard.

But I'll let you in on a little secret.

I know a fellow who can win. You want to see him?

Uh-huh. All right.

Close your eyes.

It's... it's dark, Burt.

Yeah.

OK, open.

Charlie, this is Algernon.

Hello Come on, buddy.

Up, up, up, up, up, up.

There you go.

Watch this.

Wow!

That's one smart mouse.

Burt's given you a lot of test these last few days, hasn't he, Charlie?

This is a lot of books.

Lots of books.

And really big words.

And small ones.

How do you think you did on his tests, Charlie?

Not so good.

You're wrong, Charlie.

You did very well.

I did?

Better than anyone else here tested.

Does that mean I get to be smart?

It might.

We won't know until after the operation.

Are you gonna... you're gonna do something to my head.

You're going to... you're going to put a computer in, or something.

No, Charlie.

It's already inside your head.

You see, we just have to make it work a little better.

My brain?

Parts of your brain, Charlie.

Millions of little parts of your brain.

These parts are called chromosomes.

Enzymes.

Genes.

You'll fix my genes, and I'll be a genius.

We'll try, Charlie.

We're going to try.


We'll begin by injecting our initial dosage to allow us to stimulate specific areas of the basal ganglia.

Charlie?

Yes, doctor?

You may feel some strange sensations at the beginning, but I promise you there won't be any pain.

OK, Charlie.

Here we go.

You jerk!

Come on, you idiot!

No!

Charlie?

Charlie?

Charlie?

Charlie?

Charlie?

Hi.

Hi.

Is it over?

It's over.

Am I smart?

I bet you are.

Bet they're getting smarter every minute.

Heh.

I'm really hungry.

Well, it's gonna take a little time before we know anything, Charlie, but the operation could not have gone better.

Did you give my brain a new pair?

Pair of what?

Jeans.

Heh, heh.

Well, yes, Charlie.

In a way, you do have a new pair.

And you know something, Charlie?

If this operation works, nobody will ever have to be like you were.

None of these babies will ever have to grow up and go through what you went through.

Ain't that something?

All right.

You ready, buddy?

Ready.

On your mark, get set... go!

Oh!

Ow!

Ah!

He beat me again, Burt!

I bet I'm never going to get smart.

Aw, come on, Charlie.

You just gotta have some patience, OK?

I mean, you're probably learning even right now.

I'll tell you one thing I just learned.

I never knew I was dumber than a mouse!

Charlie, I'm gonna let you in on another secret, OK?

This is no ordinary mouse.

Algernon had an operation just like yours.

He's the smartest mouse I know.

He did? Yeah.

Cross my heart.

And when your operation starts to work, you'll be beating him in no time.

That's a promise.

I hope he don't get mad.

I doubt it.

What was that?

He wants you to win.

He does?

Hello?

Anybody here?

Hello?

Must have pulled another Charlie Gordon.

Hey, Charlie!

Surprise!

Hey!

Hey!

Hey!

Wow!

Whoa!

Blow that one!

Thank you, Mr. Donner.

Now... you're such a good kid.

Hey, what did you do up there, Charlie?

Take out some flour?

How you feeling? Huh, buddy?

Good.

I feel good. Yeah?

Good enough to run the mixer?

What happened to Oliver?

Charlie, uh...

Oliver got fired.

Mr. Donner's looking for a replacement, but... but he's gotta run it himself in the meantime.

How about that, huh?

What did he do to get fired? Well, he missed work.

Just like you did.

Better watch yourself, buddy.

Could be next.

Hey, Mr. Donner? I won't miss work again.

I promise.

I only missed this time cause the doctors made me.

But... even if I get sick, I'll come in.

It's OK, Charlie.

What's bothering you?

Gimpy says you might fire me, like you did Oliver.

Well, don't listen to that butt head.

Why would I fire you?

You're a better worker than all these guys put together.

You've got a job for life, and that's a promise.

Thank you, Mr. Donner.

Hey, Charlie?

Whatcha reading?

Oh, it's really hard.

It's my homework.

OK, it's really simple, actually.

You've got three choices.

You got subtraction... remember, we talked about that?

Multiplication, and division.

Now, use the mouse... go ahead, put your hand on the mouse... and you make a choice between addition, subtraction, and multiplication.

Now, remember, subtraction means to take...

Away.

Away.

Charlie, good work.

Great.

Call if you need some help.

I'll just be right over here, OK? rubbed his eyes and looked around.

Check this out.

Aw!


I should always find that the cal...

Calamity.

Calamity.

That's a hard one.

Calamities of life were shared... shared among the upper and lower part of mankind, but that the middle...

Station.

Station had the fewest disasters.

You know what that means?

Yeah.

What?

It means that people like me got it harder than people like you.

That's what Mr. Dafoe says.

Do you think that's true?

I think we all got it pretty hard.

Except Mr. Caruso.

Cause he's got it harder than any of us.

Why's that?

Well, because he doesn't have someone to help him out.

Like I do.

Let me show you something.

See?

He won't be lonely for long.

There's somebody there.

Mhm.

Start again.

Ready?

And... Go!

Woo! Yes!

Yes!

You did it!

You did it!

I knew you could do it!

I did it!

I did it! Charlie!

Charlie, it's working!

You are getting smarter!

I'm smarter than a real smart mouse!

You see that? Wait right here.

Strauss has gotta see this.

I'll be right back.

Charlie, give me something.

Give me something! No, like this.

Like this.

Yeah!

Woo!

Charlie's the man!

Aw... I'm sorry, Algernon.

You're not mad at me, are ya?

I tell you what...

I'll be your friend.

I'll take care of you now.

Cause I'm smarter than you.

I promise.

Hey.

Hey. Oh!

Hey.

Ha ha!

Hey, Charlie, whatcha readin'?

"Treasure Island."

I didn't know you could read stuff like that.

Well, it's pretty hard, but I'm getting the hang of it.

Well, you know, Frank and I were talking, and you're a hell of a lot smarter than we thought you were.

Yeah?

Maybe a little.

You know what day it is, don't ya?

Tuesday.

It's Mr. Donner's birthday.

Really?

Yeah.

And you know what he'd like more than anything?

He'd like to find someone who can run that mixer for him.

You know, uh, Mr. Donner is getting awfully tired of running that thing himself.

And we figured, you know, since you're getting so smart, maybe you could take over?

I don't know, Gimpy.

It's a pretty hard machine.

I mean, Oliver went to school for a whole year to learn how to do it.

Yeah, and Oliver never read no "Treasure Island", neither, huh?

Come on, Charlie.

Why don't you give it a try?

I don't know.

I could get in a lot of trouble.

I could mess up real bad, and we'd have to shut down for the whole night.

Come on, Charlie.

You've been watching Oliver for five, six years now.

I'm sure you know how to do it as good as he did.

Yeah.

I probably do.

Hey, do you really think I can do it?

Hey, don't sell yourself short, Charlie.

You're sure?

Absolutely.


He's got it.


Hey!

He got it.

Hey, hit the...

Oh my god.

Charlie?

What do you think you're doing?

Hey, Mr. Donner!

Look... I'm making you a birthday loaf, just like Gimpy and Frank said I could.

See?

It came out just fine!

Happy birthday, Mr. Donner!

Hey, Gimpy, thanks for talking me into this.

I don't know.

That a boy.

That a boy!

Yeah!

Good.

Hey, come on!

I'm buying this round, too.

I just got a raise.

I ain't... I ain't had a raise practically since I started working.

This is Gimpy.

He needs... he needs... he needs another one.

Mr. Donner balled him out, and he was just trying to help.

I don't know why you thought it was his birthday, Gimpy.

Still, he should have been grateful.

I mean, he got a new mixer-operator, and he didn't even have to train him.

Here's looking at you, Gimp.

Hey, you wanna dance, Charlie?

Naw, not me.

Come on, I'll show ya.

No thanks, Frank. Hey.

Hey.

You're looking at the twist king of Long Island City.

1964.

Woo-hoo!

Come on, it's easy, you know?

You just gotta move your hips.

That's it. Hey, come on.

Come on, come on.

I need a partner. Come on.

Come on.

Hey, look, I'd ask the Gimp, except he's too embarrassed.

He'd fall on his ass. Come on.

Naw, not me, Frank.

Come on, Charlie!

Get it going out there.

Get it going!

That's it. That's it.

Hey.

Act like you're mixing bread, you know?

Hey, there you go. You got it.

Hey.

You keep going like that, I'm gonna lose my job.

Hey, Gimpy, look at me.

I can do anything tonight!

Woo-hoo!

Whoa!

Whoops!

Here you go, Charlie.

Whoa!

Hey, Charlie, I think you had a little too much to drink.

You'd better watch yourself.

I don't make fun of you, Gimpy.


Hi, Charlie.

Can I come in?

Yeah.

I've been worried about you.

Burt said that you haven't been to the lab, and you haven't been to school the last couple of days...

You have to keep your appointments, Charlie.

The experiment has to be monitored.

I'm just...

I'm just thinking about things.

Like what?

All the times that I was falling down because somebody's foot was sticking out.

Like how I thought all my friends were smart and good.

And that they liked me.

I thought they were my friends.

You shouldn't feel bad if you think everyone isn't nice, like you think.

I shouldn't?

No.

This happens to all of us, Charlie.

You can be the most brilliant person in the world, and people will still fool you.

Like you?

Coming here, seeing my apartment.

Your apartment is lovely.

It's not lovely.

It's ugly, and I'm ashamed for you to see the way that I live.

I mean, look at this.

Look at this mess!

I mean...

Now I know why my mother felt the way that she did.

I see how stupid I am, and how little I've got.

You've done more with what you have than I could have ever imagined.

You're just saying that to be nice.

You know what my father used to say?

He used to say, Alice, you're a chicken.

You're too shy, you're not pretty enough.

If I believed that, then...

I wouldn't be a teacher.

I would never have met you.

But you are pretty.

I'm glad you're my teacher.

Thank you.

That's sweet.

Don't swallow other people's sour grapes, Charlie.

OK?


I'll see you tomorrow.

OK.

You'd better show up.

Bye, Miss Kinian.

Bye.

You are making astonishing progress, Charlie.

Better and faster than we ever imagined.

But there are still things that we don't know about.

Things that Algernon can never tell us, that we think you can.

Like what?

Like, what else is changing, beyond your intelligence?

Do you have feelings that you never felt?

Do you have memories?

You said that you don't remember much of your childhood, right?

Well, are any of those memories coming back?

Sort of.

In what way?

Sometimes I have... like, flashes.

But what do you mean by flashes, Charlie?

Things that happened, that I haven't thought of in a while.

Such as...

I mean, is there any one particular memory, Charlie?

Harriet.

Who's Harriet?

She's a girl I knew when I was...

10 or 11.

I thought of her the other day when I was with Miss Kinian.

And you liked Harriet?

Oh, yeah.

Yeah.

She never teased me the way that other kids did.

I used to do tricks for her, and make her laugh.

What sort of tricks would you do, Charlie?

Stupid stuff.

But... I never felt like she was laughing at me.

I always thought she liked me.

And what happened?

Charlie?

I had a locket.

I had a heart on a chain.

I decided to give it to her.

I asked my cousin to write a letter to her from me, telling her how much I liked her.

I left it on the doorstep, with the heart.

The next day, after school, her brother stopped me.

Stupid jerk!

The letter was full of bad words.

Dirty words that my cousin wrote, to play a joke on me.

I'm sorry, Charlie.

I'm sorry.

Then my mother took me out of school, and I never went back.

Not long after that, they sent me away for good.

You stole my locket, didn't you?

And you gave it to that little girl.

I didn't!

You're a thief, and a liar!

Hey, Charlie.

Just the man I wanted to see.

Charlie?

Charlie?

I just want you to come to my office for a moment.

You OK? Yeah.

You sure?

Yeah.

OK.

Come on.

You remember these cards, don't you, Charlie?

Yeah.

What's wrong? Nothing.

I don't understand them then, and I don't understand them now.

Well, it's pretty simple, really.

What do you see on this card, Charlie?

People see all kinds of things in these ink blots.

Tell me what it makes you think of.

What it makes me think of?

Mhm.

You mean there's not hidden pictures?

Hidden? In the black paint...

That's what you said the first time, that there was hidden pictures. No, no, I never said that.

Yes, you did. Charlie, I...

That's what you said.

You made me feel stupid, because I couldn't see them.

You said there was pictures that everybody could see.

I know I never said that.

You're lying! You're lying to me!

Calm down. Why should I calm down?

Now... you're just like everybody else, laughing, and making fun of me.

Before I didn't know better, but now I do, and I don't like it.

Look, Charlie, I know I never told you there were hidden pictures in there.

You want proof? All right.

I'll show you proof.

I made recordings of all my sessions with you.

You want me to play back that session?

Here we go. You want to hear this?

I probably used the exact words then that I used today.

It's a requirement for these tests.

Listen.

What do you see on this card?

People see all kinds of things in these ink blots.

I don't see nothing.

Sure you do.

Take a good, hard look.

Maybe I should get some glasses, Burt?

No, Charlie.

I mean, tell me what it makes you think of.

Makes me think of someone spilled some black paint.

Yeah, but what's in the black paint?

People say it reminds them of things.

They see pictures.

Oh.

Yeah. I see.

What do you see?

Pictures of black paint!

That was me.

That was you.

You know what it's hearing your old self talk back to you?

It's like hearing someone that you thought was dead.

But worse... someone that you never knew existed.

Not like that.

Not as dumb as that.

You never were dumb, were you, Algernon?

You were just normal.

See, the trouble with me is I was never normal, and it's all I ever wanted to be.

Now I'll just be the... dumb guy that they made smart.

Even if it's normal smart, I'll still be different.

I don't know which is worse... to not know what you are and be happy, or to become what you always wanted to be, and feel like you're alone.

It's too hard to read.

No, you're doing fine.

You're learning faster than we ever thought.

No.

It's so beautiful out.

It's impossible to keep your nose buried in a book.

Oh.

That.

Yeah, I see what you mean.

You know, we were always told that silence is... is restful. But I think it's just the opposite.

When I was little, I used to lie in bed and listen to the sounds of my neighborhood.

It would help me sleep.

The isle is full of noises, sounds, and sweet airs that give delight, and hurt not.

How do you know that?

I just read it.

Yes, but how did you remember it?

We just read it, 10 minutes ago.

Caliban talking about the island.

Charlie, I've read this, like, 20 times.

I mean, I couldn't remember it just like that.

Do you know more?

Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments will hum about mine ears, and sometimes voices that if I then had waked after long sleep will make me sleep again.

And then, in dreaming, the clouds, we thought, would open, and show riches ready to drop upon me.

That when I waked, I cried to dream again.

That's amazing.

You just read that once?

Yeah.

Just... a few minutes ago.

What?

You mean everybody can't do that?

No, Charlie.

Everybody can't.

Wow.

Wow!

No, you're wrong again, Frank.

You got it all upside down.

Mm-mm.

Game five.

No, it was game six. '74.

Game five, '75.

Come on, Frank. I was there.

Then you should remember.

Game five, '75.

Actually, Frank's right, Gimpy.

It was 75.

But it was game six, not five, Frank.

See, what happened was the game was tied, 6-6.

The bottom of the ninth, the bases were loaded, when Fred Lynn flied out to George Foster, who threw home to Johnny Bench for a Denny Doyle tag out.

Cincinnati went on to win the series.

Boston's been in agony ever since.

Say, you're from Boston, aren't you, Frank?

Boy, they sure made a mess of that book.

Yeah.

I still liked it, though?

Why?

It was so simplistic.

I mean, they... they reduced the novel to... excuse the cinematic reference... black and white.

I mean, how could she fall for that guy?

I did.

Really?

A little.

Didn't you think she was sexy?

No, I... everything's more complex than just finding somebody attractive.

I mean, people are more complicated, and...

I think... I think...

What?

Well... take you, for instance, I used to just see you as a teacher, but now you're... you're more like a friend.

I hope so.

Only, friends don't call their friends Miss Kinian.

Oh, I see.

OK.

Go ahead.

What?

Say it.

Alice.

Alice.

I never had a friend like you, Alice.

I mean, the old Charlie thought he had lots of friends, but... none like you, Alice.

I'm glad we're over that hurdle, Mr. Gordon.

Mr. Gordon?

Most of us don't know who our friends are.

We don't have an operation to make people emotional geniuses, and we never will.

But I'm glad to be your friend.

Me, too.

Well, I've gotta home.

I've got some work to do.

It's been a pleasure, Charlie.

Alice.

Did you ever have a girlfriend, Algernon?

Huh?

You haven't got the slightest idea what I'm talking about, do you?

You meet a girl, you got one thing on your mind.

Well, I think about that, too.

Love.

Love is so much more than that.

I've loved people all my life, and... you've never loved anyone.

What do you know?

But you must know what it's like to be loved.

You feel any different because of that?

Hm?

For once in my life, I want to know how it feels to be loved back.

Hm?

I don't believe it.

Guy's a freak.

I mean, come on.

You ever seen anything like that?

You think he's been fooling us all along?

I don't know what to think.

All I know is he's laughing at us.

Naw.

Not Charlie. Yeah.

He asked me the other day if I read that "Lolita" book he was reading.

Well, what am I supposed to say?

I mean, I swear to god, the guy is making fun of me right to my face. That's all?

Naw.

He's watching us all the time.

Like we're some kind of specimens he's studying.

Like we're the freaks, and he's the normal one.

Yeah, well, he ain't normal.

I'll give you that.

You read that "Lolita", you're one sick cookie.

You got that right.

I sure miss the old Charlie.

Charlie?

I don't want to interrupt, but I have some good news.

You two are taking a trip.

Me, too?

You and Algernon.

I just got word from the International Psychiatric Convention in Chicago.

They're accepting my paper, Charlie.

Now, I know it's a little early, but Charlie, your progress is so remarkable that I just can't hold back.

I... I need to show you off.

What are you going to do, run me through a maze?

No, Charlie. I'm serious.

How are you going to show me off?

People are going to ask you questions.

Like Trivial Pursuit? No.

Of course not. I got it.

Why don't I read 'em Sappho here, in the original Greek?

Or Chinese?

You want me to learn to speak Chinese?

What are you getting upset about?

Well, these are important scientists.

I want to make a good impression.

Charlie, I don't know what you're...

How about me words to spell, like Frankenstein?

Now, you're not being fair, Charlie.

No, you're not being fair.

You're treating me like a mouse in a maze.

Why don't you calm down?

Because I have a choice here.

No you don't, Charlie.

You do not have a choice.

Now, I made you what you are, so if you want to go ahead and compare me to Frankenstein, that's your opinion.

But I believe that your life now is immeasurably better than before, so you owe me this.

You have an ethical responsibility.

No I don't.

The old Charlie agreed to this, not me!

Come on, Charlie.

You're splitting hairs here.

You want to talk ethics?

This is not some Kantian categorical imperative.

Whoa, whoa, what is that? What is that supposed to mean?

What would David Hume say about this?

Who? David Hume?

He sent Immanuel Kant on his...

Charlie, I'm talking about Chicago, here.

What are you talking about?

What, are you saying you haven't read Hume?

Charlie... Have you or haven't you?

Probably read him in college.

Probably?

He's one of the most brilliant minds of 18th century thought, and you say probably?

I thought you were an educated man?

I am an educated man.

Why don't you...

How can you call yourself an educated man and say you haven't read Hume?

Have you read Hegel?

I don't care about Hume or Hegel, or anybody!

I'm talking about changing the face of medicine, winning Nobel prizes, and you bring it some esoteric 18th century philosopher!

I'm smarter than you, aren't I?

Say it!

Yes.

Yes, Charlie.

You are smarter than me.

You've learned more in four months than I've learned in my entire life.

You've made a freak of me at the other end of the scale, haven't you?

Well, I got news for you, Dr. Strauss.

I'm not your science fair project, I'm not your ticket to Stockholm, and I'm sure as hell not your paper in Chicago.

Charlie?

Mr. Donner wants to see you.

Hey, uh, come on inside.

Make sure you get it...

What's this?

It's a, uh, petition.

Signed by all the workers, complaining about your attitude.

They, uh... they've asked me to let you go, Charlie.

Why?

Well, you've changed.

You're angry.

You makes them feel dumb sometimes.

They made me feel dumb.

Well, you were dumb.

At least, they thought you were.

But now, you know, you talk down to them.

You have this attitude.

I don't know what happened, but the Charlie you used to be... the Charlie everyone here liked... he ain't around anymore.

Mr. Donner, I...

I can be more friendly.

Too late.

Half the guys that work here have been in complaining.

They're afraid of you.

Now, Charlie, I gotta look out for everybody here.

You promised me you'd never fire me.

I promised another Charlie, not you.

Where will... where will I go?

Well, anywhere you want.

You won't have trouble getting a job.

But... you don't need to work here.

Yes, I do.

This is my home.

No, Charlie.

Not anymore.

Charlie, what are you doing here?

Mr. Donner fired me.

Oh, Charlie, I'm sorry.

They asked him to.

All the people that I thought were my friends!

Why? They hate me now!

I made them hate me!

Just like I did Dr. Strauss today.

I made him feel like an idiot!

I'm so angry, and I don't know why!

I'm sorry.

Your heart's gotta catch up to your head.

If you can learn to see people with your head and your heart, you'll be surprised at what you find.

But how do I do that?

What do you know about Dr. Strauss?

Why?

Did you know his father pressed him so hard to succeed, he had a nervous breakdown when he was an undergraduate?

And if he presents his paper in Chicago, and it's well received, there's some part of him that'll feel like, at last, he made his father proud.

So you're saying I should go to Chicago?

That's not what I'm saying, Charlie.

Just try to look before you judge.

Whichever way you go.

Well, what about you?

How do I learn to see you with my heart and my head?

What do you want to know?

Um... I'm a Pisces.

I wanted to be a dancer, but I wasn't good enough.

Then I wanted to be a writer, but I wasn't good enough.

And then I...

I found this.

And now I think I'm good enough.

Do you have a boyfriend?

A boyfriend?

I've come close, but I've never really gotten to the point where I let myself fall in love.

You know, my father was right, Charlie.

I am a chicken.

I was afraid to be a dancer or a writer.

Just like I'm afraid to commit to certain people.

I always do... no, Charlie.

No. Charlie!

No.

That... this can't happen.

No. Why?

It... it just isn't right.

I mean, I, um... there are plenty of women out there waiting for someone like you, but I'm just not one of them.

I'm... I'm sorry.

I have to go.

I have to go.

If I give Lester two cookies, and Bernice takes one away...

She can't. She can't.

I'll eat it.

Are they chocolate chip?

Hi, Charlie.

Hey, Charlie.

Hi, Charlie.

Hi, Lester.

Hi, Bernice.

Hi, everyone.

Hey, Charlie, I don't know if you can come back in here.

You know, you missed a lot of classes, mister.

You got a lot of work to do before you catch up.

I'll do my best, Mike. I promise.

It's OK.

I'd like to speak to Miss Kinian, please.

Lester, why don't you read about the story that we started yesterday, OK?

OK.

I'll be... I'll be right back.

Dog...

What's going on?

Boy...

I want you to come to Chicago with me.

Oh, Charlie...

Please.

I won't... I won't pull anything like I pulled last time.

I promise.

Charlie, last week was...

No, I don't want to talk about that anymore.

I... I need you now.

I need a friend.

I'm afraid.

Of what?

I don't know.

Something's not right.

I'm starting to lose things.

Memories.

I mean, they're there, and then suddenly they're not.

You're forgetting things?

Not important things, but... it's like a motor in my head that's starting to run down, and I don't know why or how.

It's probably nerves, Charlie. Maybe.

Maybe that's what it is.

But... I need you.

I've already spoken to Dr. Strauss.

He'll pay for your ticket.

But you have to make up your mind really fast.

How fast?

When do you leave?

In about an hour.

When Charlie Gordon first came to us, he was outside of society.

He was alone in a great city, without friends or relatives who could care for him.

Without mental equipment that would let him lead a normal life.

He had no past, no contact with the present, and no hope for the future.

In fact, one might say that Charlie Gordon was one of nature's mistakes.

A mistake that, with Charlie's own help, we have corrected.

Before you meet this remarkable human being, I want to show you where he came from.

What he was like before.

So, this videotape was made just over six months ago.

Alex, would you roll the tape, please?

Charlie, tell us about yourself.

My name is Charlie Gordon.

Where do you live?

Home.

Do you have a job?

Yeah. I work at the bakery.

What do you do there?

I... I help.

I ain't allowed to bake, cause I'll mess things up.

One time I... I put a whole bunch of chocolate chips in the rye bread, because I like chocolate chips.

Gimpy says I pulled a real Charlie Gordon.

Charlie?

What's a Charlie Gordon?

That's something I do that's real dumb.

Other people can pull Charlie Gordons, too, but nobody like me.

If you could do anything in the world, Charlie, what would you want to do the most?

Learn. I want to learn.

I want to be a "gene-ass!"

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Charlie Gordon.

Charlie, you can be seated now.

Please, let me say a few words.

Charlie... they're all going to have questions for you afterwards.

No.

Let me speak.

I'll be brief.

I promise.

Of course.

Excuse me if I'm at a loss.

I hadn't seen that video before, and I feel like I just met an old friend whom I'd forgotten so much about.

I'm very thankful to Dr. Strauss and Mr. Stinson for all they've done for me.

And to me.

But there are a few things that have been said today to which I take exception.

Dr. Strauss, in all innocence, described the old Charlie Gordon as a mistake of nature, and a burden... descriptions with which many of you would probably agree.

Well, let me explain, Charlie.

I am not aware of any contribution that Charlie Gordon made to society before his operation, but to describe him as a mistake is unfair.

He would have given you his last crust of bread, if you asked for it.

Which brings me to my next topic of discussion... the Charlie Gordon of tomorrow.

My intelligence has grown at a remarkable rate.

My IQ is now reaching the 200 range.

And where will it stop?

Will I keep growing smarter and smarter?

Will I be able to solve the problems of physics and medicine?

Or will I level off, and be surpassed by future Charlie Gordons, as Dr. Strauss' techniques become more and more refined?

Well, the answer, my friends, is neither A nor B. The answer I read in an article last night, by Dr.

David Choterov of the University of St. Petersburg.

It appears that Dr. Choterov has been experimenting in this area, too, and each of his subjects, after a brief increase in intelligence, reverted to their original level of idiocy.

Or less.

Now, granted, his subjects were mice, and not humans, and his techniques were not as refined, or as skillful as Dr. Strauss'.

But the basis of his theory is identical.

Because of this evidence, in conjunction with certain personal observations that I've made over the last few days, I've come to the conclusion that tomorrow's Charlie Gordon will be the same Charlie Gordon as the one featured in the video you just saw.

Only he won't be as smart.

But what I find most disturbing about this article is that Dr. Strauss knew, as each of you did, about Dr. Choterov's experiments, and their outcome.

And he never said a word.

Well, why... why don't you let me explain, Charlie?

Not to me, not to the old Charlie Gordon.

Charlie, I think it's time for you to sit down.

Now, granted, the Charlie Gordon would have said go ahead, do it anyway.

And perhaps I would have said the same thing.

But what I'm talking about here is ethical responsibility.

OK, Charlie, that's enough, buddy.

Something the old Charlie Gordon knew a hell of a lot more about than many professionals today!

He wanted to be a "gene-ass", like each of you!

Now I know that you're not "gene-asses", you're just asses!

And this experiment is over.

Charlie, no!

Everybody, take cover! Don't move!

Watch out! Watch out!

Don't step on Algernon!

Whoa, whoa!

Please!

Watch out!

Watch out!

Whoa!

Here, baby!

Hey, Algernon.

Well, you know, little buddy, you're the most important mouse in their life.

And they couldn't tell you from Adam.

Ready to go home?

Hi.

I need to talk to you.

Is that Algernon?

Yeah.

I thought you let him loose? Is that why you brought me here?

So I could watch you do some sleight of hand?

Of course...

So I could see you humiliate the very people who made you who you are? Look, would you just...

How could you do that, Charlie?

It's not my fault. He lied.

I know he lied, but you could have called him on it in private.

You didn't have to make a public laughingstock out of him.

Well, he was willing to laugh at me!

They all were! You heard them!

And now you're treating them just like they treated you.

Well, it's not science, it's stupidity!

I'm sick of doctors that go around acting like they're God.

You've come a long way, haven't you, Charlie Gordon?

You're about as ethically responsible now as they are.

Well, I wouldn't worry, Miss Kinian.

You'll soon have the old Charlie Gordon back, and he'll let people treat him any way they like.


Yeah, I got it.

OK.

Good luck, kid.

Hey!

How ya doing?

You wanna dance?

You wanna dance? Thanks.

I don't dance.

I'll take care of it.

When Who is she?

The girl you're drinking about?

It's not that simple.

It never is.

It's actually a guy.

Oh! OK.

Hey.

Whatever way's your tail.

Come to think of it, he does have a tail.

You're kiddin'?

And a lot of fur.

This is not a human being we're talking about, is it?

Would you like to meet him?

Sure.

This is Algernon.

Oh, he's so cute.

Hi, Algernon.

I'm Faye.

And you thought I was.

Very funny guy.

Algernon is a... is a certified genius.

He's much smarter than you, or even me, in comparative mouse terms.

But he's starting to get dumb.

Pretty soon he'll be as dumb as any mouse around.

That's too bad.

Well, not totally.

Because... then he'll get to see Charlie again.

Charlie's this... this friend of his, who's a lot dumber than Algernon.

In comparative mouse terms.

What happened to Charlie?

Charlie went away.

Pretty soon he's coming back.

But... when he gets back, Algernon may be too dumb to recognize him.

He'll just think that he's me.

I'm a little confused.

You wanna dance?

I thought you said you didn't? Huh?

Dance.

Oh.

He don't, but I do.

Who's he?

The guy I live with.

He don't know I'm still around, but I am.

I'm Charlie.

Charlie Gordon.

Come on!

Just a little weird.

Hey.

Hey.

Hey!

Come on!

It's easy!

It's just like mixing bread!

OK.

You're gonna do the twist?

Watch this.

Whoa!

You all right?

What are you doing?

Come on.

Yeah!

Come on, little miss, and do the twist.

Charlie?

Can I come in?

Hi.

Hi.

You OK?

Algernon and I went out dancing.

We got mugged by Chubby Checker.

Can I make you some coffee?

Maybe, uh... maybe I should make you some.

Alice, I...

I owe you an apology for the way I...

I behaved, and the way I spoke to you in Chicago.

I guess I pulled a real Charlie Gordon.

I understand.

He's back.

Who?

The old Charlie.

He came back last night at the bar.

You mean you pretended you were him?

No.

No, I really was him.

He's still inside me.

When he came out, I...

I went in.

I know it sounds strange, but what's really strange is that there were times last night while he was out that I actually felt happy.

They wanted me to tell you that they need you, Charlie.

They want you to come back.

They... they'll agree to any demands you make.

That sounds like a reply to a ransom note.

And come to think of it, I guess it is.

Why are you suddenly giving up?

Isn't it obvious?

Because some guy in Russia says it's automatically reversible?

You don't know.

Maybe you can change it.

Maybe there's something you can do, Charlie.

I doubt it. Then prove it.

Prove to me it's useless, because I don't think it is.

You're just sitting there with a bomb in your lap, waiting for it to go off.

The old Charlie wouldn't do that.

I miss him.

Not just the innocence or the sweetness, like you think I do, but I sure as hell miss the courage.

You were right, Charlie.

You were right in what you said.

I just wish that you had said it a little more delicately.

I knew about the Russian experiment.

I knew about the results... and I suppose I was just naive enough to hope that it wouldn't happen this time.

I'm sorry.

And you probably guessed that there's another dimension to this that we can't ignore, because I am not smart enough to save you, Charlie.

But you are.

I created a monster, and now my monster has the capability to finish the experiment that I began.

What if I don't want to?

Then it's over.

Please, Charlie.

Please... don't let it be over.

Dr. Strauss? Charlie?

You guys gotta come see this.

Please.

He was doing this maze with no problem only a week ago.

Now he doesn't know where he is.

So the regression's begun.

Well, I think it's been going on for some time now.

It's just happening a lot faster than we ever thought possible.

What about changes in behavior?

Well, he has been acting a little weird lately.

Unpredictable.


Hi.

I brought you some food.

Thanks.

Thanks.

Charlie, I wanted to talk to you.

I'm sorry?

Never mind.

I'll see you tomorrow.


Hey.

Algernon... hey.

It's OK.

Slow down.

It's not gonna catch ya.

It's gonna be all right.

It's going to be all right.

There.

It's not the whole answer, but it's 2/3 of it.

It's brilliant, Charlie.

It's not brilliant enough.

It doesn't change anything.

It just explains why it's happening.

There's still something else.

There's the last third that I'm not able to explain, that might turn it all around.

Something in the math, maybe?

No, it's not in the math.

It's not in the chemistry, either.

It's something... it's a light outside my grasp, and my arms aren't long enough to reach it.

Charlie, is there something that would make a difference?

Enough of a difference to get to that Nobel Prize?

I'm not interested in the Nobel Prize anymore.

Sure you are. We all are.

Because you're going to share it with me.

Charlie? Hey!

Sorry.

It's Algernon.

He's stopped eating.

I think he's given up.

We're going to have to feed him ourselves from now on.

Let me see.

Hey.

What's wrong?

Hey.

What's wrong?

You think he wants to die?

I think... and Strauss disagrees, but...

I think there's a part of him that realizes what he can't do anymore, and...

I guess he refuses to live like that?

Sorry.

It's just a stupid theory.

Come on.

Eat.

What'll you do with him when he dies?

We'll have to dissect him.

I know it sounds awful, but we don't really have a choice.

I mean, we gotta find out what went wrong with him, right?

Yeah.

Charlie, we just have to remember, he's only a mouse.

Yeah.

He's only a mouse.

Come on.

Eat.

Come on, Algernon.

Come on.

Charlie's neat, Charlie's sweet.

Charlie is a dandy.

Every time he goes to town, he gets his girl some candy.

Ah!

What's...

He gets his girl some candy.


Charlie You said you wanted to see me?

I've defined the problem.

The solution has been in front of me all along.

Well, what is it?

Come on, tell me.

You have to explain it to me, because that math is beyond me.

It's really very simple.

My regression is inevitable.

And even if there were any hope of my finding a solution, I no longer understand the equations necessary to find them.

Oh, Charlie, come on.

Don't give up.

You just hit a bump.

No. Nope.

It... it's not a bump.

It's a chasm.

But you said there was something you hadn't thought of. You know, a light somewhere?

Isn't that what you said?

You said there was something that would make a difference, remember? Not to my head.

To my heart.

That's where the real problem lies.

But I know how to solve that.

You don't get it, do you?

What you value is intelligence.

But the mind without the heart isn't worth a damn.

Charlie Gordon loved people with all his being.

That's all he had.

But now my heart is overwhelmed with my head.

It's a question of values, Dr. Strauss.

In Charlie Gordon's world, we're the morons.

You'll tell Burt and Alice, won't you?


Yeah?

Please... let me in.

Don't... don't be afraid.

I just... I just want to see you.

I just want to talk to you!

Please don't shut me out again!

Please!

I'll pay you to talk to me!

Just as much money as they paid you to sign the permission!

I'm not going away until you talk to me!

If you don't open the door, I'll break it down!

Ma!

Don't be afraid.

I just... I just want to talk to you.

I just want you to understand that I'm not the way I was.

I'm not retarded anymore.

I'm not a moron.

I'm normal, Mom.

Just like you always wanted me to be.

So talk to me.

You can be proud of me.

So... so tell me that.

Tell me.

Tell me about how it was when I was little.

Tell me why you hated me.

I need to know before it's too late, and you're the only person that can help me.

So please help me, Mom.

I just wanted you to be normal.

I just wanted a normal kid.

God cheated me on everything else.

You'd think he'd give me a break on that one.

Don't ya?

Here, well... feel better.

Why'd you send me away?

Why'd I send you away?

You don't know?

You never did understand nothing. you were always getting in trouble.

You were always making a big mess.

I was scared.

It was hard enough when you were little.

You got too big.

I sent you away cause you were better off without me.

Still are.

You gotta believe that.

Handsome man.

You grew up to be a handsome man.

And tall.

And smart.

Famous.

I've been reading about you in the newspapers.

Of course you make me proud.

Of course, I should have known you'd be handsome.

Such a beautiful baby.

Too beautiful.

You know, if God gives you too much of one thing, he evens it out somewhere else.

I always said that.

Heh.

You remember that there?

You loved that locket.

Played with it all the time.

What happened to that, I wonder?

We were happy then.

Sing to me.

Hm?

You'd sing to me. You remember?

The song about Charlie?

Sing it to me.

Oh... Charlie's neat, and Charlie's sweet.

And Charlie, he's a dandy.

Every time he goes to town, he gets his girl some candy.

Over the river and through the trees, over the river to Charlie.

Over the river and through the trees, to bake a cake for Charlie.

Charlie's neat, and Charlie's sweet, and Charlie, he's a dandy.

Every time he goes to town...

He gets his girl some candy.

Oh, he gets his girl some candy.

Get his girl some candy.

You remember that, huh?


Charlie's neat, and Charlie's sweet, and Charlie, he's a dandy.

Every time he goes to town, he gets his girl some candy.

I finally saw her.

I know now why my mother could never love me.

She could never love anybody.

It's not my fault. But still, I feel so... afraid.

I feel... so... alone.

Me, too.

I do, too.

No.

It's what I want.

No.

It's too late.

No, Charlie, it isn't.

You're only doing this because you feel sorry for me.

No.

I feel sorry for me.

I need you.

I've always needed you.

I've just been too afraid.

I love you.

Not just the dumb you, or the smart you.

I love the man that lives in both those people.

Alice... I'm never...

It's OK.

I'll show you.

Come here.

Sit down.

Now, don't use your head.

Just use your heart, OK?

Soften your lips.


Algernon.

Hey.


Hi.

What is it? Why so mysterious?

Come on. Where are we going?

I'll show you.

I didn't want them cutting him up.

I've got something to say to you, Alice.

Something important.

OK.

I used to have a locket I got from my mother.

I kept it with me all these years, even though it made me sad to look at it.

And... and I didn't know why.

Now I know it's because it was empty.

There was nothing inside.

Not even a picture.

I gave it to Algernon because, in a funny way, he filled it with love.

I didn't need it anymore, because I had you.

These last few days have been the happiest in my life.

My real heart is filled with love now, because I know how it feels to be loved back.

I love you, Alice.

More than anyone I've ever known.

And I always will.

That's why I want you to leave.

Charlie... that doesn't make sense.

Yes, it does.

I want you to remember me like I am now.

It's all going so fast.

I'll forget how to read soon.

And... and write.

And before long, I'll forget about you.

You'll just be Miss Kinian, and I'll just be some guy you have to take to school.

Some... some grown up little boy, who loves you like a... like a sister, or a... a mother.

But not like a woman.

Not like a real friend.

I can't agree to this.

Then I'll... I'll change the locks on my apartment.

I'll lock myself in, and I won't come out.

Please.

Don't you see?

If we go on like this, we'll lose every happy memory we got.

It's not so bad, really.

It's only sad because we've been so happy.

I would go through the entire operational all over again, just for these last few days.


Want another belt?

Yeah.

Hey, pull that back over here.

I'm ready for the ride.

Hi, Mr. Donner.

Hi, Charlie.

What can I do for you?

Well, I was wondering if maybe I could have my old job back?

I was sick, Mr. Donner, but...

I ain't sick no more.

Pretty soon I'll be just like the old Charlie Gordon again.

And... and I know you hired someone to run the bread mixer, and that's OK, because I can't do it no more.

It's too hard.

Well, I... I dunno, Charlie.

You know, I don't think the guys are gonna be...

Please, Mr. Donner?

It won't be for long, because pretty soon I'll be too dumb to work here.

And then I'll go to a home I found, where they take care of folks like me that nobody wants.

Look, it's not that I don't want you, Charlie.

It's just...

Let me try.

Please?

Let me just ask the other fellas.

We'll leave it up to them.

OK.

Heya, guys! Hey!

Charlie!

Charlie!

Hey!

Hey!

Hey, Rene!

Hey, Frank!

Hey, Gimpy! Hey.

Well, Charlie?

How's it hanging, buddy?

All right.

Hey, I got one for ya! Yeah?

Hey. Hey.

How many Charlie Gordons does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

How many?

Two.

One to try to screw it in, and one to hand him a lightbulb when he drops it.

Hey, come here.

Great to see ya, Charlie.

Good to see you, Frank.

Charlie.

Charlie.

OK, uh, Bernice, why don't you come up here and see if you can write Lester's name on the blackboard?

I can't spell Lester.

Well just give it a try, OK?

We'll sound it out.

La, la...

Lester.

Lester.

L. Lester.

A. Lester.

S. Lester.

T. Lest... Lest...

S-ter.

Hey, Charlie, where ya been?

Hi, Mike.

Boy, are you in trouble.

You ain't been here for so long, you probably forgot your name.

Uh-uh.

I'm Charlie Gordon.

And... and you're Mike, and that's Miss Kinian.

See?

Yeah.

But Charlie, you can't just leave here and not come back till you feel like it, Charlie.

You've got to be here every day!

And I will, from now on.

Won't I, Miss Kinian?

I'm not going to miss no more school.

Good for you, Charlie.

I'm going to be smart, Mike.

I'm going to be a regular "gene-ass."

Heh.

More like jackass.

I can spell jackass.

Miss Kinian, he's sitting in my chair.

No, it's my chair.

It's my chair, Charlie!

Charlie, get out of my chair!

Charlie, get out of my chair.

That's my chair now. No.

Yes. No, it's my chair.

No, I...

Technically it was Charlie's chair first.

No, those are my crayons.

Hey, Miss Kinian?

Miss Kinian, wait up.

Hi, Charlie.

What can I do for you?

You can let me give you a hug.

Don't cry.

I know you're crying, but don't cry.

I don't know why I'm dumb again, or what I did wrong, but... it's OK.

I learned a lot of stuff I never knew before.

I learned about my ma, and... some other stuff, too.

But now I know I'm a person, like everybody else.

And I'm going to keep trying to get smart again, as best I know how.

That's a promise.

So don't you feel sorry for me.

I bet I'm the first dumb person in the whole world who found out something important for science.

It's like I did it for all the dumb people all over the world.

Here.

Blow.

You'll feel better.

You see?

And I... and I still got lots of friends.

And I'll have even more, when I go to the home that's going to take care of me. It ain't so bad.

I love you, Charlie.

Thank you.

For everything.

You're welcome.

Miss Kinian, when I go away, would you do me a favor?

I wouldn't ask, except I think you wouldn't mind.

Anything.

Whenever you think of it, would you put flowers on Algernon's grave?

He really likes them.

Do it for me.

I'd be honored.

Bye, Miss Kinian.

See ya tomorrow!