One of the most iconic actors of the silent era was Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin’s acting gave more intensity and worth to the movies. The Kid movie starts with a distraught mother leaving her infant kid on a vehicle and trying to jump off the river to find an end to the miserable life she was leading, however, her motherhood restrains her from jumping into the river and she goes back to the vehicle to take back her child, only to realize that the vehicle is stolen by thieves. The thieves ditched the baby near a trash can where Charlie finds him and treats him with kindness, trying to find his mother.
“We must laugh in the face of our helplessness against the forces of nature — or go insane.”
The kid is a silent comedy-drama film and it stares Charlie Chaplin. It is also written, produced and directed by Charlie Chaplin and is one of the blockbuster movies of its times. It is a movie that is culturally, historically and aesthetically significant and it is one of the greatest films of the silent era. The story of the film is quite simple, yet it is a very effectively designed film. After Charlie takes cares of the infant kid left near the trash cans, he takes him to his home and the audience sees him struggling with all the perils of motherhood. He must act like a father as well as a mother for the child.
The kid is named Jackie and in the five years transition, we see him as a young boy with a very affectionate bond with Charlie, who is his foster-father. Jackie has a habit of breaking the neighbor’s window and Charlie used to support him in everything. In short, his foster-father had developed an affection for young Jackie and their bond was very strong. They were not blood relatives, but Charlie took care of the child the moment he was born, he struggled through life just to be a good mother and father for the child.
“I suppose that’s one of the ironies of life – doing the wrong thing at the right moment.”
On the other hand, Jackie’s real mother had raised herself in status over the last five years and has become a very famous opera singer. Even though she has financially secured herself but there is a void inside her, a longing for her lost child and this longing leads her to the slums where she visits the poor homeless children and be their godmother. A stark reality of life is depicted in the film and how poverty can make you make decisions that you don’t want to take and the position of a woman in the society is also clarified that how bearing a child is such a huge responsibility. It shows how important economic independence is for women, in order to take care of their children. The society depicted is a poverty-stricken one where there are thieves and helpless poor mothers.
“I am a citizen of the world.”
When the mother meets Jackie, she is totally unaware of the fact that he is her own child. She develops a bond with him, gives him toys and even carried him to his father once when he had a fight with the neighboring boy. There was a mystic bond between them that none of them was aware of. There is a connection between them that is why the mother is drawn towards the child but is it enough? Are blood relations more important in this case? The mother who abandoned her infant or the foster-father who took care of him all his life, who is more important? When the doctor arrives to check Jackie and finds out that he is not Charlie’s son, he says that the child requires proper care and attention, that he should be taken to the poor house.
When the officials arrive to take away Jackie from Charlie, Charlie tries hard to rescue Jackie from their clutches, the doctor shows the piece of paper to Jackie’s real mother and she then gets to know that Jackie is her long-lost son and starts her search for him. On the other hand, Jackie and Charlie are completely homeless now and therefore they stay the night at a lodging house. The keeper of the lodging-house recognizes that the boy is the son of the opera singer because she had put up in news about him. When everyone is sleeping, he steals Jackie from Charlie and takes him to the police station where he meets his long-lost mother.
“Nothing is permanent in this wicked world – not even our troubles.”
Charlie is so distressed when he finds out about Jackie’s disappearance and wanders around the street looking for him until he sleeps near the door of his house and dreams about a Utopian land, a land where there is plenty to eat and drink, a land where there is no poverty. There is love everywhere and no one is anyone’s enemy but rather everyone is friends and there is happiness. When the mother gains status, she suddenly has more power and thus Charlie’s child is snatched away from him. Charlie dreams about having wings, flying far away with Jackie, leading a happy life together. The movie ends when Charlie is awoken by the police and taken to a mansion where Jackie and his mother was, and Jackie’s mother told him to stay with them for a while. The ending shows a sign of hope. It was an open ending showing that maybe Jackie can have both his parents with him to take care of him.