The Kid

The Kid ★★★★

“The woman whose sin was motherhood”

Chaplin’s first feature-length film (almost) opens with an image of Jesus bearing his cross – a pretty unsubtle way to remind us that we all have our crosses to bear, but from that somewhat blunt beginning we’re thrown straight into some good ol’ social realism with abandoned kids. It’s a Dickens’ like feel that Chaplin elevates through some well-made settings, costumes and comforting cinematography to really make The Kid a mood-piece.

Obviously, Chaplin is a comedic genius – but the barely potty-aged Jackie Coogan is just as phenomenal. He has everything needed – from the facial expressions to movements – to make a performance as equally funny as it is touching. He’s constantly loveable and while the film never really manages to build up his relationship to Chaplin they too share an impeccable chemistry.

There are definitely times where The Kid relies a bit too heavy on the comedy to really sting emotionally, but that comedy on the other hand – is wonderful. It’s fast and creative slapstick with just the right amount of variation to it, making the film a comedic drama of social realism.

Maybe I would’ve wanted the film to balance the comedy and drama a bit better, but thanks to the acting the film really delivers some heavy emotional drama as it goes on and it’s done with such heart and talent that I’d feel horrible to continue with any more complaints. The Kid deserves much better than that.

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