Limelight [1952] ★★★½

 charlie_chaplin_limelight_french_movie_poster_2aI find it quite ironic that this is the last movie I ever saw with my granddad. Ironic because, unlike many Chaplin movies, this one is tragic. Ironic because my granddad passed away a few months later. Looking back at “Limelight”, there’s always a bittersweet feeling. Even when I saw it again recently, I couldn’t help feeling moved by the film’s many beautiful moments. Charlie plays Calvero, a former comic giant who has fallen on hard times. No one cares about his comedy anymore and he’s not getting any younger. When he saves his young neighbor, an aspiring ballerina named Terry (Claire Bloom), from an attempted suicide, he finds a new purpose in life. Terry would become his protégé as he attempts to make a comeback. But perhaps best of all is the historic teaming of Chaplin and fellow silent cinema star Buster Keaton; their scenes together will make any film buff jump for joy. Overall, “Limelight” is an extremely moving and, at times, incredibly funny Chaplin vehicle. It would also be the last movie he would ever make in the United States; perceived as a communist, Chaplin would eventually leave the country and settle in Switzerland before winning an Oscar for best Original Score not in 1952, but at the 1972 Academy Awards. Today, “Limelight” is regarded by many Chaplin fans as one of his finest work. It’s certainly his most personal. Even when you laugh, it hurts.

Rating: 3.5/4

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