The Tramp eaks out his poor desperate existence relying upon leftovers, his tiny coat hiding a huge heart of gold. Creator extraordinaire Charles Chaplin provokes a gentle smile and heart wrenching tear with a tale of kindness and sacrifice, as a single mother is purged from the Charity Hospital with a bundle of joy that weighs heavily upon her soul.
Chaplin is magically able to distill the emotional essence from a simple story of two people who share a divine human connection without descending into trite melodrama or childish cliché. He is able to make the superficial sublime. The Tramp remains elusive and nameless, yet becomes the avatar representing the everyman, a voiceless icon whose actions speak louder than words. Chaplin’s humor is found in the mundane, a ballet of routine that discovers a smile in the simple act of making breakfast or plaintively daydreaming. Jackie Coogan is adorable as the kid, his angelic façade bedeviled by a mischievous spirit.
The Little Fellow and his fledgling companion form a profitable relationship, as the kid breaks windows while the vagabond then offers his repair services to unsuspecting customers. But the tragic mother is now a famous opera singer, living under the crushing guilt of the baby she abandoned years ago. Now, she gives her wealth and time to charities in helping poor children until fate brings her together with her lost boys. Final Grade: (A)