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Directed by Sir Richard Attenborough and starring Robert Downey, Jr. and an extraordinary cast, Chaplin is a loving, grand scale portrait of the Little Tramp's amazing life and times. His poverty-stricken childhood in England comes to life, along with his friendships with Mack Sennett (Dan Aykroyd) and Douglas Fairbanks (Kevin Kline), his many wives and scandalous affairs, and his relentless pursuit by J. Edgar Hoover. Chaplin is the larger-than life story of the actor behind the icon and a stunning depiction of a bygone era when Hollywood was at its most glamorous.
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
- Reviews Counted: 47
- Fresh: 27
- Rotten: 20
- Average Rating: 5.8/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Rotten: It's slick packaging around what is mostly warm air.
Rotten: The thrill of the ending, with real Chaplin film clips, only exposes the rest as a soporific.
Fresh: For all the movie's undisputed competence, grand and inspired moments are thin on the ground.
The Bad Boy at His Best
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.
The life of one of the greatest Americans never to be a citizen
It was particularly moving to see Geraldine Chaplin's peformance as her grandmother. The warmth of Sir Charles' personality is almost captured by Mr Downey's wonderful performance, but you can see his lovely mouth and eyes in his daughter's lovely face and the warmth and wisdom of this brilliant little man lives on. Chaplin's life is a lesson on, among many other things, the wisdom of some of us who suffer mood disorders.
I always thought this film should have received so much more recognition than it did. For me there was no contest that Robert Downey Jr. gave a miraculous performance as Chaplin. I am undoubtably biased because I have always a great regard for Both Chaplin and Downey, but for me this film will always have a special place.