Quick-Thoughts: Charlie Chaplin’s Limelight (1952)

Charlie Chaplin Marathon Part VII of VII

It’s sweet. 

Very reflective of Charlie Chaplin’s own dilemmas during the time, Limelight showcases two lost souls bouncing off of each other’s depression to ironically discover happiness in each other’s company and devotion for one another. Chaplin’s character Calvero, is basically a disguise of his own self: a washed-up, once powerfully relevant comedic act who has become largely forgotten or rejected by the new age public. After saving a young dancer named Clare from an attempted suicide, Calvero begins guiding her with hope for the future of her career and existence.

To me, Chaplin’s performance is what keeps this afloat as well as some of his most elegant directing thus far. I certainly didn’t mind the Buster Keaton cameo too; their scene together felt like a near perfect farewell for their era of comedians. Limelight’s narrative here didn’t impress me to that great of an extent, however, as it’s far too pedestrian and limited to stretch itself on for nearly two-and-a-half-hours. Nevertheless, it’s the genuineness of Chaplin’s personal troubles bleeding into a cinematic coping mechanism that make this worthwhile as a fan of the legend — the same goes for every one of his previous, intimate films. 

Verdict: B-

The Eternal Tramp (Chaplin Ranked)

“Limelight” is now available to stream on The Criterion Channel and HBO Max.

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