The Kid

The Kid ★★★★

A Century of Cinema Challenge: 1921

Charlie Chaplin's The Kid is a sweet, heartwarming film, and Chaplin's first feature. His direction is much stronger her than in his shorts and his confidence and precision is clear with every gag and every shot. All the classic Chaplin slapstick is there, but I found the real star of The Kid to be Jackie Coogan as Chaplin's adopted son. Not only is he adorable, but his energy and performance is excellent for such a young actor, and his on-screen chemistry with Chaplin is incredible.

Chaplin achieves excellent tonal shifts in this film. Despite its relatively short runtime, it has moments of comedy, tragedy, and sentimentality. But these never feel overdone and Chaplin transitions between them seamlessly. My one qualm is with the dream sequence at the very end. It feels entirely out of place and was the one moment of The Kid where I was truly jarred and taken aback. It's a short sequence, however, and doesn't do much to hurt the film, fortunately. Another aspect of this film that stood out to me was the score, composed by Chaplin himself in addition to writing, directing, and editing the film, making The Kid a work accomplished almost solely by Chaplin's own hand, an impressive feat. It's easy to see why Chaplin had such an incredible effect on the world of film. He was a truly skilled and multitalented artist.

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