Ryan Gosling is talented and soulful enough to keep Charlie Gordon from being a caricature—and if he played his cards right, he could even parlay the role into an Oscar, like Cliff Robertson did in 1969.
Sharp, poised Anne Hathaway is a natural choice to play Alice Kinnian, Charlie's sensitive, passionate teacher (and the object of his affection).
Before his mental ability starts to deteriorate, Charlie has a brief fling with Fay Lillman, his free-spirited, artist neighbor. We'd love to see what sassy Rachel Bilson could do with this part.
Charlie's mother Rose is a bit of a monster—she's ashamed of her son, and as a child, she punished him harshly for innocent infractions. But Marcia Gay Harden could give a nuanced performance that would add much-needed layers to this one-note character.
In the book, Dr. Strauss is a man. In Charly, though, Professor Nemur's gentler partner was played by Lilia Skala. We agree that this film could use more female roles, so we'll award this part to Emma Thompson, who has the intelligence necessary to play a brilliant scientist.
Arrogant Professor Harold Nemur is Charlie's advocate-turned-antagonist; Victor Garber has the gravitas and sinister edge the role requires.