Thoughts on Chaplin

Monday, September 13, 2010 4:26 PM By Simon

-Now, Charlie Chaplin movies make me sad. The Tramp, specifically, is such an innocently tragic character, and Chaplin's scores are always so melancholy, his films make me cry even at their cheeriest. This just made the whole thing all the more depressing.

-Not to say it wasn't good. Robert Downey Jr. certainly earns his nomination, as the single actor who gets enough screen time to warrant such. Kevin Kline plays best friend and pirate of many orders Douglas Fairbanks with his usual zeal, Marisa Tomei gets a bit part as Mabel Normand, star of many a Fatty Arbuckle short, director, and apparently, a bitch, rivaled only by Mary Pickford (Maria Pitillo). Milla Jovovich shows up for a bit as the Lolita first wife of Chaplin, Dan Aykroyd is the notoriously undersold Mack Sennett, who gave Chaplin his shot, I guess. Paul Rhys is Chaplin's older brother Sidney, a rather thankless, but nonetheless well-played, role, and in some bizarre twist of fate, Geraldine Chaplin plays her own grandmother.

-Moira Kelly plays the dual roles of Hetty Kelly, Chaplin's first love, a dancer who married and died of influenza at 25 (after he left for America), for which she puts on the most dreadful accent. Like, ever. Her parents are Irish immigrants, she should be able to put on a goddamn convincing accent. Anyways. And then she plays Chaplin's final and longest wife, the ever-faithful Oona O'Neill, in a not-so-subtle juxtaposition with the many women in his life. So, uh, if you see Moira Kelly walking around, she's probably your soulmate. Or something.

-There's this really funny scene, where Charlie and Sid and Sid's wife (girlfriend?) and Charlie's cameraman Roland Totheroh (David Duchovny) are alluding the cops with the still-uncut print of some film, I forget which one, that Mildred Harris (Jovovich) was after for the divorce settlement, and they start running around like in a Chaplin film, super-fast movements and slapstick diversions and whatnot.

-The end. Is so. Sad.

-Good day.
The Temptation Of St Tony

8 comments:

SugaryCynic said...

One of the first movies I watched for my RDJ education. It's got a lot of flaws but I love it to death

September 13, 2010 at 10:04 PM
Darren said...

I cried during the montage. Manly tears.

It's not a perfect film (it seems like the director couldn't decide what he wanted to focus on, so we get a very broad, but very thin view of everything), but I enjoyed it. As you said, Downey is da bomb.

September 14, 2010 at 4:27 AM
Simon said...

Sugary: Love is a strange thing, innit?

Darren: I never said that. I said he earned his nomination. Don't put words in my mouth.

:)

September 14, 2010 at 4:33 PM
Jose said...

Plus Geraldine Chaplin is so cute for the two secs she's in the movie but still.

September 14, 2010 at 5:21 PM
Fitz said...

A flash of Robert Downey Jr.'s brilliance before he almost blew it. I'm glad he came back with a force.

September 15, 2010 at 9:16 AM
storiesthatreallymattered said...

I really want to see this film as I love RDJ but I feel like I don't know enough about the real Chaplin to appreciate it.
-Katie

September 16, 2010 at 9:13 AM
Simon said...

Jose: Now, let's be fair. She had at least five seconds.

Fitz: Define 'came back'? He never came back to this form, I don't think. Tropic Thunder, maybe, but...

Katie: You don't have to. I mean, it's nice if you get the little in-jokes, but not knowing anything, it's still a beautiful little movie.

September 16, 2010 at 2:13 PM
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