The Kid

The Kid ★★★★

Insert Here: Standard opening about how I don't deal well with silent films and how impressive it is that my fascination with Chaplin's comedies continues. These films are a great access point for audiences looking to broaden their horizons beyond sound film.

The Kid is easily the most melodramatic of Charlie Chaplin's work. This isn't particularly strange since despite their roots in slapstick comedy, Chaplin's films have always had a deeper side grounded in sympathetic emotionalism. But The Kid has a sad side which is darker than most.

It opens with a young mother abandoning her newborn baby played over a melancholic string arrangement that will make your heart wrench before you even know what's happening. The Tramp takes the kid under his wing, and together they get into both hijinks and shenanigans of the most hilarious order; but then the melodrama returns with social services coming to take the kid away from his new father. It's a little saccharine and schmaltzy at times, but in general these emotional moments succeeded in getting me to sympathize with the characters and giving more weight to the comedy.

The real reason to check this one out though is the way the Tramp and the Kid play off each other. Chaplin is always capable on his own, but with a partner in crime he reaches new levels of slapstick comedy gold. Watching him teach the Kid how to properly eat maple syrup with a knife isn't something I'll soon forget.

It's cute and lovable, and most of all it's consistently funny. I didn't want it to end. 50 minutes is too short.

Charlie Chaplin | Best of its Year

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