Top 250 - The Kid (1921)

Chaplin's hilarious and heart-wrenching dramedy still resonates 90 years on..... beautiful storytelling.

The Kid's opening credits advise that this is "A picture with a smile, and perhaps a tear..." and it certainly does not disappoint. I find it fantastic that a film made in the adolescence of Hollywood, even before the advent of sound, can still induce laughter in a reviewer who has been desensitized by the innumerable comedies of Stiller, Carrey and Sandler. Or perhaps that is the reason why it was so refreshing. It needs no profanity, no Farrelly-Brothers vulgarity; only some clever slapstick, witty characters and wonderfully timed set-pieces. It's second claim also does not fall short as the fear eminating from Coogan, Chaplin's fledgling co-star, when he is being dragged off to the orphanage is hard to watch. Consdering the age of Coogan, his repertoire of emotions, comic timing and cheeky-faced charm is exceptional. Actually, ignoring his limited experience he is Chaplin's equal.

 The story revolves around 3 characters: Chaplin's 'Tramp', the 'Kid' and his mother, who abandoned him as a baby. The Tramp takes him in and 5 years later, we see they have become partners in crime, scamming whoever they can find and living a modest but comfortable life. Meanwhile, the mother has become a Hollywood star and has all but forgotten about her unwanted baby. A little trouble with the law threatens the duo with separation and when a chance meeting between mother and son rekindles those lost maternal instincts, she puts up a reward for his return. Of course, you'll have to watch it to find out how it ends.

This is a captivating story of life, loss and love.

Movie Rating -8
Film Rating - 7

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