Excruciating memories of those lizardy old guys croaking out “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” in Martin Scorsese’s Shine a Light (2008) will be banished from your brain while watching this lustrous restored chronicle (overseen by Mick Gochanour) of the Rolling Stones playing Dublin and Belfast in early September 1965, right before the band hit superstardom. Originally directed by Peter Whitehead, tapped by Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham to record the band’s Irish tour after being impressed by the filmmaker’s first doc, Charlie Is My Darling captures the quintet at their most impossibly vernal and beautiful. (Mick, Keith, Brian, and Charlie were 24 or younger; Bill was 28.) Onstage, peacocking Mick rebuttons his cuff while singing “Time Is on My Side”; for the next number, “It’s All Right,” the kids in the front rows go crazy, tackling their idols to the ground. In between concerts, each bandmate has a few turns expounding on fame and their future in front of the camera, but not as many as Jagger, whose plummy vowels and jokes about British Romantic poets remind you that he was a student at the London School of Economics only a few years prior. “There isn’t any secret—it’s all obvious,” the lead singer retorts to some offscreen query about the key to the group’s appeal. This film proves him right.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 24, 2012