THE LIMELIGHT (2012) – Review


Meet Gary Shand. The world’s unluckiest guy.

The Limelight (2012) – It’s absolutely amazing what a budget of around $79k can produce. Glen Maney‘s The Limelight is a film that follows comedian Gary Shand through his struggle to make it as a top level comedian with the constant battling of depression, alcoholism, failing interpersonal relationships, and contemplation of suicide.  The film is the directorial debut of Maney and John Robson. Maney–with a shoestring budget–successfully depicts a realistic portrayal of situations where laughter isn’t always the best medicine.

Maney stars as “Gary Shand,” a struggling circuit comedian just trying to catch a break. His landlord (Jay Sodagar) is constantly on him about his rent; his ex-wife for proper financial support for their kids; and his boss comedian Ricky Grover as Al Moran–the mean-spirited manager of the comedy club where he subjects Gary to ridicule; the stresses of the success or failures of his club–and without paying him for the trouble. Additionally, Patrick Monahan‘s character Sean Bollinger, a fellow comedian, who uses Gary’s material during his stage performances, and, according to Al, with a better comedic effect.

With nowhere to turn, Gary finds solace in his local pub and a local barman, Adrian (Mark Manero), who is there to lend him an ear or a shoulder to cry on. It is in the exchange between the two where you truly get an idea into Gary’s intense list of personal problems and watching as he struggles to battle alcoholism. Gary Shand. A man who is consistently down on his luck–tries to end his life–only to find that he isn’t very good at doing that, either.

 With watching the film, you find it hard to criticize Maney’s character, who hasn’t had a difficult time in trying to manage the difficulties of life solely on their own. What more, Maney’s performance provides “the funny side” of alcoholism and suicide. As far as the cinematic appearance of the film–it’s easily discernible that it was shot on a limited budget; however, it is the clever writing and true to life content of the film that makes it worth watching. There are also a few moments in the film that are in poor taste and is difficult to describe; which is something you will just have to see for yourself and certainly does add to the film’s realistic effect. The film’s musical score serve to amplify Gary’s more tragic moments, and in the end, just when things were beginning to look up–that his character suffers the unfortunate side of his newly found fame.

The Limelight reveals to the audience the environment and society of professional comedians; how they engage with one another, their methods of communication, and even their unique way of thinking. The film centers around Maney’s issues brought up as he tries to become a comedy star, as well as the other main characters. While the overall dialogue of the film is hilarious, it is important to note the audience can relate to the main character’s situation within a world where one must maintain a comedic composure at all times, and how sometimes the realities of life seem to get often in the way.

Art and supplementary materials courtesy ©2012 of Glen Maney and THE LIMELIGHT film. All rights are reserved. 

  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 4 stars
  • Excellent

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  • Last modified: 2015-04-22

Review Summary:

Comedian Gary Shand (Maney), and his quest for celebrity status and recognition from his peers and comedy fans.

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