February 18, 2012


The Artist is writer/director Michel Hazanavicius's masterpiece, an homage not just to the silent movie era, but to film making itself. It is a bold enterprise: a black and white, silent movie in this age of CGI, action blockbusters, inane rom-coms, remakes or sequels & prequels. I was entertained by the exquisite cinematography, elegant set and costume design, art direction, the ingenious and funny screenplay. In the absence of dialogue, the toe-tapping original music by Ludovic Bource kept me engaged. That dance sequence is a delight.

The talented Jean Dujardin stars as dashing George Valentin, a silent movie superstar who becomes instrumental in jump starting the career of fan and actress Peppy Miller (the charming Berenice Bejo).  His own illustrious career declines when he refuses to embrace change: talkies. After his star wanes in Hollywood, now-It-Girl Peppy returns to catch his fall.  Perfectly cast, you can't take your eyes off the two leads. They deserve every accolade they have received. Monsieur Dujardin gives that elusive, old Hollywood matinee idol vibe to his heart-breaking performance.  Ms. Bejo is glamorous yet likable because of an every-woman quality.

The accomplished supporting cast includes John Goodman as studio mogul Al Zimmer, Penelope Ann Miller as George's unhappy wife Doris, James Cromwell as the faithful chauffeur Clifton, and the scene-stealing Uggie as George's doggie best friend.  Here's proof that you can get audiences to laugh, dance in their seats, and move them to tears simply by telling a good story. Even without words.

(photo from Hollywood Reporter)


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