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“City Lights” by Henry Clive Film Analysis Essay (Movie Review)

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Updated: Mar 30th, 2020

Introduction

The movie, City Lights (1931), is an American movie written by Charlie Chaplin and directed by Henry Clive, an Australian director of art. The movie focuses on romance, as its main subject and comprises of characters such as Charlie Chaplain, the main character. Other characters in the film include Virginia Cherill, who plays the part of the blind girl, and Harry Myers, the alcoholic millionaire.

City Lights is a romantic movie that has its basis on the misadventures of Charlie Chaplin, who is a vagabond and is in love with the blind girl, Virginia Cherill. His love for the blind girl triggers a conflict between him and Harry Myers, the millionaire. In this view, the film relays important information to the society concerning the power of love and the extent to which love can take an individual.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rates the movie as for general viewers, which is suitable for children and families. Therefore, the purpose of this movie review is to analyze the film by summarizing its plot, assessing the effectiveness of characters, and deriving a moral message from the movie.

Summary of the Film

City Lights is a romantic movie based on a love story where Charlie Chaplin loves Virginia Cherill, a visually impaired girl. The plot of the film begins when the city officials find Chaplin sleeping on a statue because he is homeless. After his eviction from the statue, Chaplin interacts with the blind girl, and thereafter, the events initiate love between Chaplin and the blind girl. Additionally, Chaplin interacts with the alcoholic millionaire, who is on the verge of committing suicide and develops some kind of friendship.

The film ends when the blind girl gets a cure and receives the ability to see. The film demonstrates the sheer determination of Chaplin because despite being poor, he engages in several activities such as sweeping streets to earn income and help the blind girl. Some of the themes in the film include romance, determination, relationship, and love. The acts in the film are not obscene, and thus MPAA has rated it as appropriate for family viewing.

Themes of the film

The themes presented in the film are romance, determination, relationship, and love. The movie presents romance through many events; for instance, Chaplin buys flowers for the blind girl after falling in love with her. Subsequent to his interaction with the blind girl, Chaplin becomes determined and engages in several activities aimed at helping the visually impaired girl. Moreover, the love between Chaplin and Cherill initiated a turbulent relationship between Chaplin and Harry Myers, the millionaire.

The relationship between Chaplin and the millionaire was marred with drinking and violence, especially from the millionaire, who tossed Chaplin every time he sobered up. Eventually, the blind girl recovers her eyesight and is able to live a happy life, just like other people. Thus, the main theme is romance because other themes such as love, relationship, and determination revolve around it.

Effectiveness of the Characters

The characters in the movie are practical and instrumental in conveying the themes of romance, relationship, determination, and love to the target audience. As the movie progresses, the characters interact seamlessly, making the movie to flow from one scene to another. When Charlie auditions several girls for the position of the blind girl, he finally ends up with Virginia Cherill, who becomes the best actor in the film.

The appropriate nature of the actors makes the film realistic and creates a film that has the capacity of conveying the required themes of romance, determination, relationship, and love. Some scholars have argued that the characters in the movie represent the family of Chaplin. While Harry Myers seems to represent his father, Virginia Cherill appears to represent her mother.

Moral Message

The film conveys a moral message that shows the essence of love and determination in society. In the movie, the main performers, such as Chaplin demonstrate a high level of determination as he works hard to earn a living and help the blind girl. Moreover, the film presents a message that love goes beyond personal appearance. The message becomes evident when Charlie Chaplin loves the blind girl, Virginia Cherill.

In addition, the message presents a good moral lesson to societies since it encourages relationships among people, irrespective of their personal appearance or disability. From the relationship that develops between Charlie Chaplin and the alcoholic millionaire, who wanted to commit suicide, the movie relays a moral lesson to societies that suicide is not ethical. Therefore, the movie is good as it conveys various several moral lessons to society.

Conclusion

City Lights is a film that emphasizes issues such as romance, love, and turbulent relationships. The scenes in the movie meet the requirements of family viewing as rated by the MPAA. The film presents various moral lessons to societies concerning concepts of love, determination, and respect for all members of the society regardless of their physical appearance. The characters in the movie are practical and present the message clearly to the public.

The design of the film targets all the members of the society from all demographics such as age, gender, and social status. From the movie, lessons such as determination, love, healthy relationships, and respect for one another develop in the minds of individuals. Evidently, the movie is an inspiring one in that it is highly recommended for family viewing because it offers essential moral lessons to individuals in society.

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