The Artist (2011)
Reviewed on 2012 July 7
My friend wanted to see this, and since she picked it as the Oscar® winner in advance, I trusted her judgement and we rented it. She’s good- we loved the movie. We loved the uniqueness, the glamorous black and white film, and the simple but compelling story. We loved its charm. The only trouble is now we both want a Jack Russell Terrier like little Uggie, the adorable critter in this. He was painfully cute and we were completely smitten.
George Valentin (Jean Dujardin, taking home the Best Actor Oscar) is a silent film star, at the top of his game. It’s 1927, with talking films emerging as an exotic new threat to titans of the silent screen and the stock market crash seemingly a lifetime away to the jazz age partiers. While absorbing the accolades of his adoring public one afternoon, George bumps into Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo), a flapper who aspires to break into showbiz.
The world changes almost overnight for George, who is faithful to his remote popsicle of a wife (Penelope Ann Miller) yet clearly smitten with Peppy. The talking pictures take over, audience tastes change, and about the only thing stable in his life is his beloved dog. While all this is happening, Peppy’s career skyrockets.
Here is one of those things that doesn’t sound like much of a story, and I admit it takes a few minutes to get pulled into a silent movie, but then turns into an incredible film. The gimmick of a silent movie about silent movies doesn’t change the fact that there’s actually a plot and some fine acting here. Dujardin and Bejo were both wonderful, the film successfully veered from funny to heartbreaking, and yet it didn’t get bogged down with its own seriousness. My friend’s daughter loved it too, and when three people with different tastes agree on something, that’s a good sign.
Three chocolate morsels and a little French cognac.