The Artist (I) (2011)

PG-13   |    |  Comedy, Drama, Romance


The Artist (2011) Poster

An egomaniacal film star develops a relationship with a young dancer against the backdrop of Hollywood's silent era.

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7.9/10
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  • Jean Dujardin and Missi Pyle in The Artist (2011)
  • Penelope Ann Miller in The Artist (2011)
  • Lassie and Uggie at an event for The Artist (2011)
  • Omar Von Muller and Uggie at an event for The Artist (2011)
  • Malcolm McDowell and Bérénice Bejo in The Artist (2011)
  • John Goodman and Bob Glouberman in The Artist (2011)

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26 December 2011 | ferguson-6
8
| With Pleasure
Greetings again from the darkness. Remember the last silent film that received this much adoration, acclaim and publicity? Of course you don't. It was 1927 and Clara Bow starred in "Wings", the most recent silent film to be nominated for Best Picture (it won). My guess is, that streak is about to end thanks to French writer/director Michel Hazanavicius.

No doubt many will avoid this one since it is a Black & White silent film. What a mistake that would be. It offers a wonderfully entertaining and captivating story, and two outstanding and expressive lead performances. Jean Dujardin is remarkable as George Valentin, one of the biggest movie stars in 1927 (when this story begins). It's around this time when the "talkies" begin taking over. Valentin is a very likable character, but foolishly believes talking movies are a fad and his fans will remain loyal to him and his traditional silent films. Not only do talkies take off, but the Great Depression also hits. Valentin finds himself out of work and broke.

The most fun in the film occurs when Valentin and Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) are together. Their characters have a chance meeting and there is an instant spark. Valentin gets her the first break of her career and before long, she is on the rise as fast as he free falls. Only Valentin's dog and driver (James Cromwell) remain loyal to him during the tough times, but Peppy refuses to let the bond die.

It's impossible to watch this film and not notice the influence of "Singin' in the Rain" and "Sunset Blvd". Also, Dujardin's Valentin looks to be a cross between Douglas Fairbanks and Gene Kelly, replete with the electric matinée idol smile. Both Dujrardin and Ms. Bejo (who is the director's real life girlfriend) have the elastic face and bright eyes necessary for silent film stardom. They really allow us as viewers to forget the silence and enjoy the characters.

This is a fully realized story with excellent character development. You might wonder how this is possible with no dialogue, but that's why this is a must see film garnering an abundance of critical acclaim. It's very easy to access and is purely entertaining ... with both moments of happiness and sadness. It has everything a really good movie should have ... just with fewer lines of dialogue!

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Comedy | Drama | Romance

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