In the modern age of voice-over and extreme close-ups, the silent medium offers a refreshing take on filmmaking, and viewers willing to try something they're not used to will be paid back in full. The very physical edge to Chaplin's slapstick humor relies on acting with the entire body, and as he and his costars attempt to communicate a story without the use of dialogue, the resulting style achieves a kind of genuineness that almost doesn't seem possible with sound. In these full-body shots, Chaplin's agility is on display as well -- as he dodges punches and climbs across rooftops, his gracefulness is almost shocking. But it nearly goes unnoticed in light of the jokes it serves to produce -- for yes, all these years later, the raw humor Chaplin creates is still very funny. It wouldn't be untrue to say that these elements arise in every film Chaplin made, but that's no problem -- in fact, it's welcome. For therein lies the magic of the Chaplin style and the certainty that the Tramp will continue to delight audiences for years to come.
For many, questioning the quality of a Chaplin film seems almost humorous. History speaks for itself: he iconic Tramp character, whose oddball attempts to integrate himself into society have made viewers laugh and cry for decades, has solidified himself as one of the most timeless images in Hollywood history. And he's no exception in THE KID. Even in his first feature-length appearance, Chaplin (who wrote, directed, produced, starred in, and composed the score for the film) seems to leap off the screen with his endearing, larger-than-life persona. The Tramp, as he confronts very real struggles and makes very human mistakes, truly manages to transcend time, speaking to the universal quirkiness and naivety of the human spirit, and the underlying earnestness and sincerity of the film shines through.