Don't be all scared and judgmental because it is a French, silent movie
in black and white. It's about more than the gimmick, and The Artist
will be calling to you, entrancing you and making you feel the love.
Set in 1927, Jean Dujardin stars as George Valentin - the biggest movie
star in the whole world. He's riding high in the time of the silent
pictures, but those times are coming to an end. The head of the studio,
Al Zimmer (John Goodman), is ready to embrace the talkies, and he wants
to bring in a new stable of stars.
Of course, George is too proud and stubborn to embrace the future, so
he leaves the studio determined to continue his silent stardom. Along
the way, he meets Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) - a young lady looking
to become a Hollywood star. As her fortunes rise and she becomes the
biggest star of the talkies, George's fall, but the attraction between
them only seems to grow, especially as Peppy tries to help.
Will George regain his stardom?
Will George and Peppy find true love?
Will George just talk?
The Artist is the best movie of the year
because of the great artistry and skill needed to recreate a silent
movie, but, also, because it has a story and acting that excites your
emotions. And, we can never forget, it features the greatest
performance by a dog in a movie in 2011.
Director Michel Hazanavicius and his team painstakingly adhere to the
silent movie formulas and characteristics in ways that cinephiles will
be reveling, and younger or less experienced movie fans will find
entertaining. Hazanavicius, through the title cards displaying the
dialogue, tosses in many little jokes, turns of phrase and double
meanings that give the audience a giggle. Then, he continues to give us
visual gags and other sights on the screen to convey an idea or advance
the story. I makes The Artist a clever movie.
Of course, Dujardin and Bejo show you The Artist is a great
movie, whether it be silent or not. Bejo is the girl all guys hope to
fall in love with as she bats her eyelashes, sings, dances and engages
in one of the most brilliant pantomime scenes since the golden days of
Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin. While in George's dressing room,
Peppy plays around, pretending to have a romantic, flirty encounter
with the man of her dreams, but Bejo is so cute and free, it's the guys
in the crowd who will be falling.
Then, Dujardin makes George come to life with such complex troubles and
emotions. Sure, a silent movie, especially The Artist, needs to
be broad to express the story to the audience, but Dujardin also brings
in some more subtle moments and steadily shows the dissatisfaction,
disappointment and growing depression in George to make the fall of the
movie idol so poignant.
Finally, you can't mention The Artist without mention Uggie the
dog, who plays George's loyal companion on and off screen. Uggie is so
much fun to watch, I swear I almost nominated him for Best Actor at the
Broadcast Film Critics Association's Critic's Choice Awards (by the
way, you can see the show on VH1 on January 12). Dog lovers will be
wanting to take him home, and dog haters will be reconsidering their
stance as Uggie charms his way into your heart. With plenty of
hilarious tricks, undying loyalty to his human companion and bravery in
the face of massive danger, Uggie is awesome.
The Artist is the movie I implore you to try
even if it seems to be the complete antithesis of what you like in
movies. You might like it.
The Artist is rated PG-13 for a disturbing
image and a crude gesture.