Sir Richard Attenborough's biographical film of the life and times of Charles Chaplin is a little thin as a narrative, but it is so charmingly creative and ultimately moving, it's hard to care about any deficits. Robert Do... more »wney Jr. does an excellent job re-creating Chaplin's graceful slapstick and getting inside the silent-film superstar's head over many years of triumph, defeat, scandal, official persecution, exile, and inner peace. A huge cast portray the allies, friends, lovers, and enemies in Chaplin's life, including Moira Kelly as his final, longtime wife, Oona, Kevin Kline as Douglas Fairbanks, Geraldine Chaplin as Charlie's mother, and James Woods as a prosecutor working hard to nail Chaplin for anti-American sentiments. Attenborough declines to tell the story in a flat, linear way, employing such clever techniques as detailing one chapter in Chaplin's life as a silent comedy. The climactic scene set at an Oscar tribute for Chaplin will get the tears flowing. --Tom Keogh« less
Martha R. from GREENVILLE, SC Reviewed on 3/13/2010...
Robert Downey Jr's performance in this was stunning. His rendition of the song was powerfully moving.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Robert Downey Junior - The Bad Boy at His Best
Robert Barnwell | Johnson City, Tennessee | 07/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're anything like me, the almost semi-annual relapse and recovery of Robert Downey Jr. has been an interesting periodic feature of the morning news. After a while one begins to question why does Hollywood put up with him when there is no shortage of talented actors desperately trying to make it in Hollywood? Why would producers and studios, who are so financially dependent on their productions going off without a hitch, take yet another chance on Robert Downey, Jr? Then I saw Chaplin, and I understood.The intensity and power of the Robert Downey's performance in this film is the stuff of Oscars and true movie legend! It's both a beautiful performance and a beautiful film!Somehow Sir Richard Attenborough got out of Downey the kind of performance that can sustain a career, and a legend. But Sir Richard's mastery didn't stop there. He got spectacular performance out of everyone, including a young, pre-X-Files David Duchovny. (I know I misspelled that. But you know who I mean.)In summation, Robert Downey's performance is every bit the equal of James Dean's in Giant, East of Eden or Rebel without a Cause, and maybe that's what we should keep in mind. For unlike Dean, another self-destructive personality, Robert Downey has not driven off the cliff yet, and hopefully he never will."
A Dazzling Cinematic Experience...
Kim Anehall | Chicago, IL USA | 01/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Charles Chaplin was one of the pioneers in film who brought us classics such as The Kid (1921), Gold Rush (1925), Modern Times (1936), and Great Dictator (1940). His many successes are still to this day considered masterpieces which he created, acted, directed, and edited. He had a brilliant eye for what the human mind was observing and he could make comedy out of almost anything. However, despite Chaplin's great sense of humor the recurrent theme in his life seems to be surrounded by sadness and loss where his escape was to help others feel a sense of joy. Chaplin is a brilliant cinematic story that has a fantastic cast and where the lead as Chaplin is managed brilliantly by Robert Downey Jr.. In addition, the story weaves in moments out of Chaplin's life where he got his ideas in an ingenious manner which displays the superb directing in the story. When the audience sees everything put together they will experience a dazzling cinematic experience."
Robert Downey, Jr. as you've never seen him before
Gina Marie Warswick | El Paso, TX | 05/23/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The star of this film is the amazing replications of Chaplin's use of physical comedy and intense passion for filmmaking the "tramp" had for his craft. Robert Downey, Jr. literally steals the show away from such heavyweights as Anthony Hopkins and the film's director, Richard Attenborough. Though Attenborough, he himself an Oscar winning director, does some clever things to draw you into the world of Chaplin (making the film look old and distressed, using the same shakey "hand-cranking" speeds for action sequences, and use of moody, uneven lighting), his tempo for the film seems painfully slow at times, and at over two hours, the picture feels much longer. The film is packed with stars in small roles, as everyone plays second banana to Chaplin--Marisa Tomei, Milla Jovovich, David Duchovney, Dan Akroyd, Moira Kelly, and Geraldine Chaplin, just to name a few. The period accuracy is well done, and the acting is superb, however, the direction is heavy-handed--a major fault of Attenborough's other films, too, and leaves you feeling frustrated--just show more of Chaplin doing what he does best--making people laugh!To his credit, however, the director does show Chaplin as the social activist who had an FBI file close to 2,000 pages in length. The drama, at times, seemed a bit much for someone known for bringing joy to so many...perhaps, therein lies the irony of Chaplin's life. See this film to be educated, and see it to see Robert Downey, Jr. in top form in this Oscar nominated performance and ode to one of cinema's greatest artists who was the forerunner for such "control freaks" as Warren Beatty and Orson Wells. Writer, director, actor, producer, editor...Chaplin did it all!"
Downey at his best
Amanda M. Spear | Moncton, NB Canada | 10/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of my fav flicks. Downey at his best, great score by John Barry which i listen to more than just once in a blue moon. i still can't get over Downey not winning the oscar, i was utterly depressed when Al took it home. Life isn't fair i suppose :) Oh well but i totally recommend this movie. Watch it and get ready to fall in love with Robert and his portrayal of Chaplin."
Chaplin - the movie
Lana Ryder | By the Water-East Coast | 06/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Excellent biographical epic, with inspirational, amazing acting from Robert Downey, Jr., and the rest of the cast. Charlie Chaplin was truly a genius, and a beautiful human being. Robert Downey, Jr. "becomes" Chaplin - and the story of his life draws you in so completely, you will find yourself wanting to watch it again and again. When you hear the beautiful song, "Smile," you will always remember who wrote it, and the life of its author, Charlie Chaplin. Robert Downey does a great job on his own rendition of playing piano and singing Smile both on the soundtrack and his later released cd in 2006. For any serious movie lover, you must own this one. Check out the rest of the great cast!"