Note: This review contains spoilers!
Charles Chaplin’s City Lights is a 1931 Comedy Romance Drama film. Like other Charlie Chaplin movies he did pantomime, music as well as direction for this film. This film is a work of genius-simple yet very moving.
This film is mostly a comedy but a very emotional romantic touch moves you deeply towards the end. The eternal tramp is so kind hearted that his kindness touches you deep down. The tramp first saves a millionaire from committing suicide and becomes his friend. Some fun follows but the problem is that the millionaire forgets everything about the tramp as soon as he becomes sober.
There is some fun but owing to the affectionate kindness towards the blind flower seller girl the tramp has to undergo severe tests. He works for a job and fights in a boxing match. This boxing match is perhaps most hilarious boxing match you have ever seen! This is one of the funniest scenes in the history of cinema. The peculiar emotional response evoked by Charlie Chaplin is always very difficult to assess because he’s so vulnerable, kind and yet comical at the same time. His sheer poverty calls for the empathy but the comical genius makes you revise your estimate of his character because he’s very very formidable. The tramp loses the boxing match too after having entertained you dramatically.
Finally drunken millionaire again meets the tramp and gives money to him to help blind girl pay her rent and gain sight. The twisted turn of fateful events makes tramp look like a robber and on-the-run from police he helps the blind girl. He sentimentally bids adieu to the girl. He is soon caught by police and goes to jail. In the climax-the flower selling girl who has gained vision after an operation is working in a shop whereas the poor but very kind tramp is released from the prison. He’s laughed at because he looks so wretched. Even the girl who notices him outside her shop laughs at him at first but then tries to help him. When she touches his hand to give him a penny she realizes by recognizing the memory of touch that it’s the same kind person who helped her in her toughest times. Then the tramp smiles and film ends. This is one of the most beautiful, most sentimental and most romantic of all movie scenes I have ever seen.
This is a very enjoyable movie–one of the best movies ever made–a testimony to versatile genius Charlie Chaplin’s greatness. It’s nostalgic and brilliant. I highly recommend it. Thanks for reading.
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