The Idle Class

Film Review by Dean Duncan Mar 18, 2015

There is no apparent strain, or effort, or agenda here. It’s just the world’s greatest actor and, quietly, the world’s greatest director, caring reasonably for his craft as he fulfills a contract obligation. As workaday as that may sound, this is undoubtedly the formula that produced a lot of the world’s very greatest films.

Chaplin’s various enactments are perfect—the he’s-weeping/he’s-mixing-a-drink gag is as good as anything, ever—it’s actually moving, it’s so good. And so is he! I’m talking about Chaplin the actor, but again, he’s doing much more than just that. What’s even more remarkable about The Idle Class is how Chaplin the director’s framing and timing and blocking multiply into an even greater perfection. Awesome. Awe inspiring, actually.