Review: The Artist
What We ThoughtGenre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
What We Liked :Refreshing concept, Terrific performances from Dujardin and Bejo.
What We Disliked:Borrows a little too heavily from classics.
The Artist is one of the finest movies of 2011 and deserves all the accolades it’s sure to receive.
Can a silent movie really impress movie goers today? Director Michel Hazanavicius devised a plan to make us care about silent pictures again and succeeded amazingly. The Artist is the most original picture of the year, bringing back silent films for a new era. With all the talk of 3D lately, Hazanzvicius proves there was still some life in an old idea.
It is the year 1927 and George Valentin is a classic movie star. In the era of silent movies, there is no one bigger than him. He is featured in countless films that add to his legend. Then something terrible happens. A new technology, allowing voice on film, has made his pictures antiquated. A young starlet, Peppy Miller, takes over his spotlight and he wonders if he will ever work in Hollywood again.
The plot of The Artist has a lot of similarities to Singin’ in the Rain. Utilizing a mostly pantomime, a black-and-white color scheme and new technologies that films of its intended era could have never achieved, The Artist comes across as fresh in its technique . The originality of The Artist gives it the feeling that it perhaps wasn’t intended for the Oscars, as it seems other movies have been tailor-made for the award. I feel as thought there was a lot of love that went into this project and the result comes through loudly on screen.
The performances of the leads is really what holds the whole film together. Jean Dujardin, mostly unknown on US shores, channels acting greats like Charlie Chaplin and Gene Kelly to create George Valentin. Chaplin also had an ego when it came to appearing in ‘talkies’ and refused to change the way he made movies. Gene Kelly was a larger-than-life actor/dancer/singer. There aren’t many actors that can/have achieved what he did (Hugh Jackman is the only current one that comes to mind). Bérénice Bejo plays Peppy Miller in the film and controls the camera with her smile. I really believed she a was young actress at the beginning of the film and I find it hard to believe her actual age. When she shares the screen with Dujardin is when the most magic happens, but that doesn’t happen enough, honestly.
One can only hope that The Artist‘s creativity and refreshing attitude isn’t a novelty for film in the future; I think there is still life to be had in this kind of film. While The Artist will always be unique in what it has achieved in modern times, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few more silent films making waves on the indie circuit in the years to come. I was afraid that The Artist wouldn’t live up to the monumental hype surrounding it, but it eclipsed even those expectations. The Artist is one of the finest movies of 2011 and deserves all the accolades it’s sure to receive.