The Circus (1928) | Classic Review [Spoiler Free]

[Header Image: Merna Kennedy and Charlie Chaplin]

Strangely enough, I actually grew up with Charlie Chaplin in my life to some degree but I never really paid that much attention to his work. In my review for Seventh Heaven, I mentioned wanting to watch as many Academy Award nominated movies as possible which is how I found myself watching The Circus.

For anyone unaware, it is a silent film that follows a tramp (Charlie Chaplin) who finds work at the circus where he meets and falls in love with the circus owner’s daughter (Merna Kennedy). The Circus was nominated for best picture, best director, best actor, and best writing at the first Academy Awards however, those nominations are actually no longer officially listed. That being said, Charlie Chaplin did receive an honorary/special award for writing, acting, directing, and producing which does make sense because it’s not hard to imagine that The Circus might have won in any of its categories.

In fact, it’s really not that hard to see why Charlie Chaplin’s work was so well loved in general and why it still is today. The Circus is a really entertaining watch. It’s got pretty good pacing and structure although it could have, perhaps, been a little shorter. That being said, it was still fun to watch, the story progressed in an easy to follow way, and Chaplin and Kennedy had some pretty great chemistry.

It’s definitely clear why the Circus was nominated and while it did only get an honorary/special award, it was incredibly well deserved. I wouldn’t necessarily say it blew me away but it certainly gave me even more understanding as to why Chaplin’s work is so loved (which is saying something considering some of his other work is considered to be far better) and I’m really happy I got to check this one out.

Rating: 3.5/5


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