The Artist
A silent. black & white film with more emotion and heart then many of today’s hollywood movies

Directed by: Michael Hazanavicius   Starring: Jean Dujardin         Reviewed by: Mitchell Burns
                                                                         Bérénice Bejo
                                                                         John Goodman                      5/5 stars
                                                                         James Cromwell

For me, The Artist is this years “The King Speech”. You know, everyone has been talking about it so much, the critics absolutely adore it, but it seems like one of those movies only a critic could love. You watch the trailer and you think to yourself “I’m not looking forward to see that” but then you finally see it, after months of putting it off, and you’re blown away. I know I was blown away. 

Jean Dujardin plays George Valentin, a silent film star in the late 1920’s, he’s at the top of the career, he loves his job and he’s completely happy. He’s married to a beautiful wife named Doris (Penelope Ann Miller), and they live in a huge house. Valentin has a Valet named Clifton (James Cromwell) who doubles as a friend, and he also has a cute dog named Jack (Uggie), who follows his master everywhere.

After a showing of Valentin’s movie, A Russian Affair, he leaves the theatre and is surrounded by cameramen and the flash of bulbs. A young woman named Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) accidentally falls into Dujardin and is embarrassed, but Dujardin brushes it off and makes the girl laugh. She thanks him for being kind to her and kisses him on the cheek and of course the kiss is caught on camera and the two are on the front of the newspaper the next day with the caption “Who’s That Girl?” 

Peppy Miller is thrust into super stardom after Valentin puts her in one of his movies, and she becomes a huge star. A few years later the boss of Kinograph studio’s, Al Zimmer (John Goodman), shows him the newest thing in movies, Talking. According to Zimmer, no one wants to see George Valentin anymore and silent movies will become a thing of the past. 

The Artist does a really great job of conveying so much depth and emotion, which is one part the acting and another part the music, and a director that can put it all together perfectly. Jean Dujardin is so marvelous in this movie I am going to have a hard time seeing him act in anything else, he definitely deserves the Oscar for this role. Bérénice Bejo did a wonderful job as well, the chemistry between the two is perfect, I’m not sure if she deserves the Oscar, but it’s still up in the air for me. Bejo is stunningly beautiful, and she fits into the role pretty perfectly. 

The Artist is extremely emotional, it does a great job at showing the fall of the silent film era in a perfect way, with a silent film. Now, did the silent film aspect bug me? Not really. The music fills that void perfectly enough and you become so captivated with the performances and the story that you kind of forget it’s a silent movie. 

Part of me feels that the silent aspect is a gimmick, to draw awards attention, but it’s well done enough to actually deserve the awards. I don’t ever want to see Hollywood make another silent film again, I hope no one tries to ride on the success of The Artist.

and a nod to the amazingly trained Uggie, who plays Jack the dog, if there was an Oscar for animals he would definitely win, because he is a scene stealer.

– Mitch burns

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