The Kid

The Kid ★★★★★

Highly sentimental, and also a brutal, almost disturbing portrait of poverty at its most extreme, derived from Chaplin's own childhood experiences. This is perhaps the first clear indication of Chaplin's intentions to make himself over as a Great Artist (although plenty of less self-conscious shorts had already communicated the fact of his artistry), and he only gets tendentious once (where he cuts between an unwed mother and an image of Christ bearing the cross). Everything else remains so simultaneously vivid and lyrical that its gives the lie to the notion that Chaplin was never a particularly cinematic director.