Action / Biography / Comedy / Drama

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 59%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 81%
IMDb Rating 7.6 10 51810

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October 08, 2011 at 04:24 PM


Robert Downey Jr. as Charles Spencer Chaplin
Marisa Tomei as Mabel Normand
Diane Lane as Paulette Goddard
Milla Jovovich as Mildred Harris
751.95 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 23 min
P/S 7 / 39

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Helio 8 / 10

Downey Jr is Chaplin

This is film of great performances. Robert Downey Jr is incredible as Charlie Chaplin. Kevin Kline is an excellent Douglas Fairbanks. Geraldine Ctaplin is splendid playing her own grandmother. Maria Pitillo has too small a role as Mary Pickford. It is one of Milla Jovovich's early roles when she was sixteen but looks older. Kevin Dunne is persuasive as J Edgar Hoover. Dan Akroyd is his annoying self as Mack Sennet. Diane Lane offers up a compelling Paulette Goddard. James Wood is a grating lawyer. David Duchovny and Marisa Tomei also have roles. Downey was rightfully nominated for an oscar for his role but lost out to Al Pacino (in Scent of a Woman).

The telling of the story was interrupted with irritating scenes of Chaplin discussing his autobiography with his publisher. It seems these might be ways around parts of the biography that were unclear or left out.

The film offered glimpses into the silent era of Hollywood and documented some of the tribulations that Charlie Chaplin encountered in his life. Like any movie it couldn't do justice to a fifty year career but was a remarkable effort.

Reviewed by svikasha 9 / 10

A Fitting Tribute to Perhaps the Greatest Actor of All Time

Charlie Chaplin is truly a character. On the screen, as well as off the screen, for nearly a century, Charlie Chaplin held a position of esteem within the domain of cinema that can never be topped. Those who have read the autobiography that this film is based on will go into the film knowing that Charlie Chaplin was as iconic on-screen as he was vulnerable in print. His autobiography is a very honest account. Unlike many biopics, "Chaplin" doesn't take the cheap route of portraying an unflawed and idealized version of the iconic actor. The film confronts his shortcomings that the actor was courageous to admit. Chaplin, was at various times, a serial womanizer who engaged in more than one "age inappropriate" relationship throughout the course of his life. Like many any Hollywood and the film industry, Chaplin often abused his power in the industry to take advantage of star struck women. This self-destructive tendency to get into troublesome relationships plagues Chaplin throughout his entire adult life. But from all of these imperfections, emerges an individual who was a deeply troubled artist struggling to come to terms with both his art and the global nature of his fame. Although the movie seems inadequate at times, overall, the 1992 film "Chaplin" starring Robert Downey Jr. is a humanistic portrayal that is just as beautiful as the person it portrays.

"Chaplin" follows Charlie Chaplin's life from his humble origins in England all the way to fame and fortune in Hollywood. Although Chaplin was born and worked as an actor in England, his pursuit of an acting career eventually takes him to Montana in the United States where he inadvertently begins a film career that would turn him into a global icon. The film does use some rags to riches clichés. When Chaplin was first in England, he had trouble getting into restaurants because of his affiliation with theater which was looked down upon by high society. Years later, when he returned to England after spending years making films, the crowd that came to see him was so large that he needed a police escort just to get off of his train. Yet, it is that very recognizable identity and fame that made it difficult for the young Chaplin to call anywhere other than Hollywood home.

Charlie Chaplin was not afraid to step into politics and make his voice heard. As an artist, such genuine passion is truly commendable. But this characteristic often made Chaplin a target. Fortunately, "Chaplin" doesn't shy away from portraying this part of Charlie Chaplin's distinguished life. Although Chaplin had adopted the United States as his home, during the tense time of the Cold War, Chaplin ended up being targeted for his beliefs. After years of undue suspicion and malicious court cases, Chaplin was kicked out of the country in 1952 as a tragic victim of McCarthyism. The film makes it a point to convey that Chaplin's film career was inextricably tied to the man's political and social views. In fact, at a time when filmmakers were questioning the role of cinema as a form of social commentary, Chaplin was a pioneer in making silent films that spoke volumes about the contemporary society of the time.

But the greatest point in Chaplin's esteemed career came at the worst point for humanity itself. While the world was tearing itself apart fighting a second world war, Chaplin stood up, made a risky film about Adolph Hitler himself, and told the world, "Do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed – the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish". The real Charlie Chaplin was not just an actor. He was the voice of a generation. To his credit, Robert Downey Junior does justice to what is truly a very difficult role.

A tear might actually roll down your cheek by the time you get to the end of this movie. In the final scene, Chaplin, weakened by old age and a full life, confronts the timelessness of the art form he created. People will always remember him as a version of himself that even he no longer remembers. A tear rolls down Chaplin's cheek on screen. Chaplin's career was a culmination of being a talented actor, at the right place, at the right time. Charlie Chaplin may have died in 1977, but the global reach and timelessness of Chaplin's work endures. "Chaplin" the film is a touching homage to a truly remarkable individual. At the end of his life, Chaplin told everyone that time was his greatest enemy. But there is much reason to disagree with this assertion. Time is the medium through which films work their magic. Chaplin manipulated time in his pictures to capture a perspective of the human experience that can touch audiences a century later with equal effectiveness. Time is his greatest friend.

Reviewed by Kel Boyce 5 / 10

When will we get a Charlie and Mabel film?

How wrong can you get it? Not much more wrong than in this film. It goes no way to depicting the real Chaplin. Chaplin's early life is fairly well treated, although we don't know when or where he was born. He had no birth certificate! UK and US intelligence services concluded he originated in Eastern Europe. Butte, Montana, where does this come from? Chaplin was in Oil City Pa. when he got 'the call'. A railroad running outside Keystone Studio? Attenborough was thinking of Essanay studio in Niles, surely. Keystone Studio with a Spanish mission frontage? Not when Charlie first went there, Mr A. Chaplin too young for Sennett? Well yes, but the film doesn't give the reason, which is that Charlie was too close in years to starlet / girlfriend Mabel Normand for white- haired Mack Sennett to tolerate. Mabel screeching like a demented Lucille Ball when the egotistical Charlie refused to follow her direction? Read Charlie's autobiog – it never happened that way. The wedding scene – what wedding scene? Charlie first used the tramp in Mabel's Strange Predicament, and the character first went public in Kid Auto Races in Venice. Syd Chaplin negotiating Charlie's contract with Keystone? Syd wasn't even in the U.S. at the time negotiating began. He became a Keystone actor soon after, and would not have jeopardized his $200 per week by having a go at his paymaster. Fred Karno with a north country accent? I doubt it, he came from the west country.

Let's end Charlie's time at Keystone there shall we? Whoaa, hold on a minute Mr Attenborough, didn't you know Charlie made his movie bones at Keystone, and Mabel Normand was instrumental in honing his skills AND the tramp character? The original cruel tramp was toned down during discussions with Mabel and pathos had been added to the tramp's character in post-'Mabel At The Wheel' movies. In Mabel's Busy Day, Mabel becomes the tramp, while Charlie is a kind of dude with feelings. We can also add that Mabel regularly bought Charlie new shirts, as Chaplin's were never washed, and he was too cheap to buy new ones (Minta Arbuckle).The most important period in Chaplin's movie career occurred between January and December 1914, yet Attenborough dismisses it in a few minutes. It seems odd that of all movie folk, only Attenborough thinks Mabel ceased acting in 1922. In fact, she starred in Sennett's 'Extra Girl', released 1923, and starred in a series of movies for Hal Roach up until 1927.

When Chaplin went to Essanay he ran into Edna Purviance who was lying in wait for him. Wrong!! Edna was a regular at a certain cafe pointed out to Chas. He had already used Gloria Swanson, who objected to Chaplin's manner and slapstick comedy. Of course Charlie could have signed Mabel Normand, but he did not want an actress with a big price tag, nor one that had a mind of her own, that could not be molded the way control-freak Chas wanted. On occasions Mabel would spot Charlie in a restaurant and shout to him, 'Charlie I'll be your leading lady yet!' Poor naive Mabel just didn't get it.

Charlie had a cockney accent, as pointed out by the film's Mary Pickford. Wrong again! Chas had developed an aristocratic way of speaking, long before 1914, and had been a dude in his time, even if he was dirty and smelly. The film depicts some low-level angst between Pickford and Chaplin, but does not go into the reasons. Unfortunately for Mary, she became involved in business with Chas. She was also involved socially with him via her husband, and the 'tramp' would often turn up at their house on Sundays. The boys would head off to the hills, while Mary was left to amuse whichever dumb, empty-headed wife Chas had brought with him.

Whilst Robert Downey Jr makes a good stab at Chaplin's physical characteristics, the film falls at the first hurdle, as Attenborough has failed to depict the disparity between the Charlie that walked onto the Keystone lot, and the one that exited the gate a year later. Apart from everything else, the wistful and brooding Mabel had taught similarly endowed Charlie how to create allies in Hollywood, by being the life and soul of the party and of the lot. Without these acquired skills, introverted Charlie would have fallen flat on his face, and disappeared back into the vaudeville ether. If we ignore Attenborough's early failings, then we can say this is a well-crafted film, which makes for good entertainment. He leaves the nuances of Chaplin's character to be explained during discussions between Chaplin and his (fictitious) biographer. A similar ploy was used in Alexander the Great (2004) where the director used biographer Ptolemy to explain the intricacies of Alexander's otherwise unfathomable character. If you want a summary of Chaplin, then Mary Pickford's words will suffice: '…that obstinate, suspicious, egocentric, maddening and lovable genius of a problem child, Charlie Chaplin'. Biographical film unnecessary.

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