THE ARTIST (2011)
Running Time: 100 mins. Rating: 4 Stars/5 Stars
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Language: Silent with English language intertitles
Distributor: Weinstein Co.
Cast: Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller, Ed Lauter, Malcolm McDowell, Nina Siemaszko, Missi Pyle, Beth Grant, Joel Murray, Ken Davitian
If there were a movie created by film buffs, for film buffs, this would be it. Directed by Michel Hazanavicius, THE ARTIST is a masterful tribute to those old-school silent films we used to watch before we had 3D animation and Auto-Tune. For a world fueled on dialogue and social networking, can you handle being quiet for 100 minutes? It may be a challenge for some people, but you’ll be fine as soon as you see Bérénice Bejo light up the screen.
“Who’s that girl?” The newspapers know exactly what to say without me having to say it.
Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) happens to bump into the deliriously sexy film star George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) and starts a buzz. One word: legs. Bejo and Dujardin basically melt in their love on the screen, from their amazingly happy faces to their tap dancing toes. Grabbing sources from a variety of references like SINGING IN THE RAIN and CITIZEN KANE, the movie-within-a-movie plays an awesome tribute to Old Hollywood. Peppy even wears the notorious beauty spot and boy does she wear it!
As much as I want to take part in the self-destruction of George Valentin’s character, I can’t relate very well to his incredible sense of pride. He refuses to participate in speaking roles and even goes so far to produce and star in his own silent film. As his life falls apart, Peppy takes center stage, as it goes for any industry. Out with the old, in with the new. “If that’s the future, you can have it,” says George.
Moving pictures can be endearing when played next to a live orchestra, but as the film moves on to the darker end of George’s artistic tale, the audience’s attention moves to the days when we didn’t have to read lips. Oh wait, those days are now!
Whether you’ve ever seen a silent film before or not, you’ll appreciate this blast from the past in cinema. You’ll enjoy all the dancing, the quoted cue cards, the stunning music and the many facial expressions. But most of all, you’ll enjoy Uggy the dog, especially when he plays dead. Now that’s something you’ll never need words to describe.
If you like this recommendations: Singing In The Rain, Citizen Kane