I will begin this review by giving a brief plot summary so you, the reader, have an impression of the goings on in the film if you haven't yet seen it. The film begins with a mother and her infant child. Very early on in the film the mother decides that she simply cannot care for the child, so she abandons it in the rear seat of an unoccupied car. The unoccupied car then because the partially unoccupied car and is subsequently stolen by car thieves. The thieves eventually take notice of the small child in the back seat and, in turn, they abandon it themselves in an alleyway. In this alley is where the iconic figure of Charlie Chaplin's Tramp character is presented and he eventually finds that he will have to be the one to care for the infant. Time lapses five years into the future and we find Chaplin and the child, which can now more accurately be referred to as a "kid", living together in a raggedy one bedroomed apartment. Chaplin's tramp is clearly presented as a surrogate father figure for the kid, and the two of them appear to coexist in a relationship that is both playful and loving. The rest of the movie unfolds after the stage is set as I just did for you. It is mostly instances of how the two paupers have to swindle there way into sources of income, and the misadventures that come along with it. The film was released in the year 1921. Releasing a film in this time period could be considered overly restricting by some individuals, considering that "talkies" had yet to be a staple of the medium. However, Chaplin absolutely encapsulates the melodrama of the story and expertly enables the story to be told through movement and design, rather than through dialogue. Chaplin's tramp character is the iconic image of Charlie Chaplin that everybody knows even if they have never seen one of his movies. Every aspect of the character from his attire (bowler hat, cane, small waist coat, large trousers and shoes) to his over exaggerated gestures make for an expressive performance that is both memorable and inevitably iconic. It is worth noting the charismatic performance of the kid as well. He is an excited young man that is clearly enjoying himself in the filmmaking process, and his relationship with Chaplin is quite endearing. The Kid is an exciting display of creativity that translates into iconic film. A scene that stands out is one in which Chaplin's tramp character is being chased along rooftops by a police officer, and another would be a dream sequence where characters throughout the streets have angel wings that can be purchased at a corner store. It is worth noting the impression that this film must have made upon audiences when it was first released. Even in modern times it comes across and a piece of utterly unique cinema, which is a testament to the acting and filmmaking genius that Charlie Chaplin had. I cannot recommend this movie enough to anyone that is interested in the history and progression of filmmaking as an art, or anyone that wants to lose themselves in a charming story about a man and his kid.
The Tramp cares for an abandoned child, but events put that relationship in jeopardy.
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April 11, 2019