Aronne Ibarra’s review published on Letterboxd:
After witnessing one of the best movies cinema has to offer last night in City Lights, I turn to Chaplin again for today's watch. I really can't enough of the guy and his films at this point. Up next on the watchlist, as many of you guys have recommended, was Chaplin's first feature effort The Kid which came out 100 years ago.
The 53-minute silent comedy opens with a title that goes, "A picture with a smile-- and perhaps a tear". No nine words can more accurately describe The Kid. Chaplin's mastery of humor and heartwarming drama is what separates him from his contemporaries and that emotional control over the audience really shines in The Kid.
This film was way more serious and dramatic than I thought. The Kid is a tender and genuine single parent-orphan drama that's as wholesome as it gets. Chaplin's non-stop slapstick as in City Lights is replaced with more slice-of-life situations where we see the Tramp care and love for the abandoned Kid, trying his best to get by and hopefully find a brighter life for both him and the Kid.
Chaplin's gags come only at the right time. It's a scrappy and tough life the Tramp and the Kid go through, but finding laughter and joy in the most hopeless situations has become Chaplin's lasting and endlessly-inspiring brand. Masking the bleakness and pessimism of real life with comedy isn't easy, but Chaplin did it and he did it best.
That this film is an entire century old is unbelievable. It holds up so well in its comedic punches, its themes, and its filmmaking. The Criterion Collection restoration is beyond amazing!
The Kid also has terrific acting in it. Chaplin, of course, is himself. But the young Jackie Coogan, who plays the titular kid, did it for me. Chaplin's self-composed score and self-written script are wonderful as well.
Maybe some of the editing suffers from the age of the film but it's really, really good when it comes to transitions, especially near the end. That's probably my biggest complaint with this one. But aside from that, I can't fault anything much. Perhaps I'm still spoiled by City Lights and that's why I find it hard to give this a higher score, but I'm content with my rating and I'm thankful I watched this.
I'm thinking of watching a lot more of Sir Chaplin's works in the incoming days because I'm enjoying what I'm seeing a lot. The next films I'm going to watch will probably be The Circus, The Gold Rush, Modern Times, and The Great Dictator. I also want to see Shoulder Arms as well.
Chaplin's quickly becoming one of my favorite entertainers and creators and I'm deeply excited for the rest of his filmography. If you haven't seen any of his films yet, go see one because not only is it essential, but you may also find yourself in a very wonderful time.
Thank you Charlie Chaplin and all of you take care and stay safe!