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The “Modern Times” Movie Essay


Introduction

The movie “Modern Times”, widely considered to be Chaplin’s greatest work follows the adventures of Chaplain as he attempts to find a suitable job despite various unfortunately events and high jinks causing him to lose jobs one after the other.

While the movie itself is a comedy it does have various hidden metaphorical meanings which lend the film a greater brevity and meaning as compared to other silent films of the era. One theme which is expanded on in a comedic fashion is the effect being incarcerated has on an individual and his ability to adjust to society after being imprisoned for such a long period of time.

Examination of the Movie

Towards the middle part of the movie people can see that Chaplain, after being released from jail, finds himself longing to be sent back to prison and being so far incapable of finding a proper job for himself. In reality this particular scene can be reinterpreted as the experiences newly released ex-convicts have when they are released from jail.

For a majority of them social reintegration is a harsh reality after years of being in a prison system where all their needs were taken care of (Coakley, 18). For them, reintegration is a harsh and arduous affair wherein due to their history of being a felon they are often derided against or shunned due to their past history.

As a result, this causes them to lose the ability to gain a stable means of employment resulting in them turning back to a life of crime either to survive or to be sent back to jail where they can at least be provided with somewhat decent living conditions.

It is this very experience that lies at the heart of “Modern Times”, while the film does express sentiments akin to the life of people during the modern day era it also reveals how due to societal changes in this era of ours people who have previously been incarcerated have no choice but to continue a cycle of crime as a result of the attitudes of the local populace.

While the film is comedic in nature it actually reveals the flaws of today’s modern society wherein people have to act in a certain way, be a certain type of person or behave in a prescribe manner in order to be accepted in society.

Chaplin’s decidedly awkward actions are actually a parody of how people learn how to conform to a society where being “different” often times leads to uncomfortable if not harsh circumstances. In fact it can be stated that the film itself shows how society itself has created prisons for the various individuals who live in it wherein they are unable to escape from the roles society has created for them as a result of their need to conform in order to survive.

Conclusion

Based on my interpretation of the film it can be said that one of the reasons why “Modern Times” has been so critically acclaimed is due to the fact that it was able to explore several themes regarding society with the main character saying little if nothing at all. In fact it can be stated that the depictions shown in the movie, though comedic in nature, are startlingly accurate to the way in which people in society have become so fixed in acting in such a particular way that they don’t even realize the prisons that they have created for themselves.

Works Cited

Coakley, Sarah. “Jail break. (cover story).” Christian Century 121.13 (2004): 18.

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IvyPanda. (2019, March 26). The "Modern Times" Movie. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/modern-times/

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"The "Modern Times" Movie." IvyPanda, 26 Mar. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/modern-times/.

1. IvyPanda. "The "Modern Times" Movie." March 26, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/modern-times/.


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IvyPanda. "The "Modern Times" Movie." March 26, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/modern-times/.

References

IvyPanda. 2019. "The "Modern Times" Movie." March 26, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/modern-times/.

References

IvyPanda. (2019) 'The "Modern Times" Movie'. 26 March.

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