Showtime’s ‘The Real Charlie Chaplin’ Expertly Illustrates the Life of an Icon

Ulises Duenas


In his time, Charlie Chaplin was the world’s most recognized face and highest-paid actor. His work in silent films was so prolific that he managed to make successful silent movies years after talking ones took over Hollywood, but his life was also full of controversy. Showtime’s The Real Charlie Chaplin expertly recounts the highs, lows, and secrets of his life with great editing and narration.


Chaplin was orphaned at an early age, but he always had a passion for performing and making people laugh. By his teenage years, he was working as a comedic actor with a troupe in London. It was there that Chaplin created his famous character of “the tramp,” a roaming transient who is always down on his luck. The footage and narration do a good job of explaining Chaplin’s rise to superstardom, while also acknowledging the fact that his famous character was a combination of other silent-era characters from the past. 



Pearl Mackie does a consistently great job of narrating Chaplin’s story as remastered footage and photos are shown. Her tone, voice, and rhythm give the documentary an almost calming vibe. The historical footage and photos used throughout are edited perfectly to show the audience the best visual for the narration, and it adds a lot to the immersion of the story.


Hollywood is known to be a cruel, fickle beast, and even Chaplin who was beloved the world over wasn’t safe from its vicious cycle. Scandals and accusations of being a communist fueled by the FBI turned a star into a pariah. His ex-wives also got up in his storm of controversy and were harassed by Chaplin’s fans despite being victims to his behavior. It’s a complicated story, but it shows how the filmmakers behind this production nailed the execution. 



Great documentaries are ones that leave you feeling like an expert on a subject you previously knew little to nothing about while also making you curious to learn more. The Real Charlie Chaplin does this while also showing the dark side of Chaplin’s life.


It’s a story told so well that even after seeing all of Chaplin’s skeletons, I found myself thinking “that’s really clever” when they showed footage of movies made later in his life. His mark on show business is undeniable and everlasting, and his story is one that is very much relevant today.


Author Bio:

Ulises Duenas is a contributing writer at Highbrow Magazine.


For Highbrow Magazine


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