In the hands of director Richard Attenborough, Charlie Chaplin's life story becomes a sweeping and touching drama. Robert Downey, Jr. gives an unforgettable performance as Chaplin, who rose from the slums of London to become Hollywood's favorite silent movie character, the Tramp. Along the way, Charlie had to deal with his mother's insanity, his love affairs, marriages, and a paternity scandal, all involving much younger women, and investigation by none other than J. Edgar Hoover.
This very entertaining story vividly recreates the beginnings of the movie industry. The sets and costumes are magnificent, as is the John Barry soundtrack, which features Chaplin's own song, "Smile." Downey gives the performance of a lifetime playing a controversial but ultimately very likeable hero over a span of sixty years. He oozes charisma.
The cast is full of stars but it's all about Downey and he's wonderful. I've only seen bits of Chaplins' films and didn't expect to like this movie, but I found it fascinating.