The Artist Movie Review

Made as a 1920s-style silent movie, this hugely enjoyable film is already a classic. And while it's far from mainstream, it's also packed with more wit, passion and invention than all of the films in any given multiplex combined.

In 1927, George (Dujardin) is Hollywood's top star, swashbuckling through adventure blockbusters with his faithful sidekick dog Uggy. At one of his premieres he meets Peppy (Bejo), a mystery girl who gets her own shot at stardom as a dancing extra in one of George's films. His grumpy wife (Miller) isn't happy about this. And there's more trouble when the studio boss (Goodman) decides to switch to talkies. So George walks out to make his own silent film, while Peppy becomes a sound-movie star. But she doesn't forget that he gave her a break.

Filmmaker Hazanavicius tells the story in pristine black and white with an expressive musical score and title cards to convey the dialog. There are constant visual sight gags that hark back to a very different time in the movies, and yet the film also has a surprisingly realistic edge to it, as these characters also have off-screen lives that are complicated and rather messy.

The clever direction is funny and sweet, continually taking our breath away with inspired moments of comedy or pathos.

And at the centre, Dujardin creates one of the year's best movie characters: a man who's knee-weakeningly dashing and knows it, but doesn't have a mean bone in his body. His first experience of the talkies is an unforgettable cinematic moment that he plays exquisitely, and he's just as effective when things escalate into a surreal Fellini-style dream or descend into a dark, lost weekend. Meanwhile, his chemistry with Bejo is goosebump-inducing. Her deep yearning is so beautifully played that she wins our heart too.

And the film gets to us on other levels too, layering in thoughtful observations about progress, most notably the bittersweet fact that everyone must make way for the young. As George struggles to overcome his pride, the film dips into some very dark places that are wrenchingly real. His deep-seated fear is that no one wants to hear him speak, so we root for him to get the courage to dance into a whole new world.


Comments

The Artist Rating

" Essential "

Rating: PG, 2011

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

Beyonce and ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Tease Us With Tantalising 15 Second Teaser Clip [Video]

Beyonce teased us all over the weekend, when she shared a 15 second...

Beyonce and ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Tease Us With Tantalising 15 Second Teaser Clip [Video]

Robert Downey Jr Crowned King of the Box Office

With an estimated income of $75 million between June 2013 and June 2014, Downey Jr...

Robert Downey Jr Crowned King of the Box Office

George Clooney On Getting That Tabloid Apology And Why He Had To

Ahead of his wedding to Amal Alamuddin, George Clooney has...

George Clooney On Getting That Tabloid Apology And Why He Had To

A Short History of Forgotten Destiny’s Child Member Farrah Franklin

Farrah Franklin, the forgotten fourth member of Destiny’s Child, found herself...

A Short History of Forgotten Destiny’s Child Member Farrah Franklin

Sons of Anarchy Final Season: Charlie Hunnam Spills Details

Speaking at the Television Critics Association preview night on Monday, lead actor...

Sons of Anarchy Final Season: Charlie Hunnam Spills Details

Vin Diesel Talks This Summer's Weirdest Bromance

Yet in conversation with Access Hollywood, Diesel summed up the relationship between...

Vin Diesel Talks This Summer's Weirdest Bromance
Advertisement

Rixton - Me and My Broken Heart Single Review

There's a new boyband on the UK pop scene who have somehow managed to storm single charts...

Rixton - Me and My Broken Heart Single Review

RIP Krusty the Clown? His 10 Best Moments

Krusty the Clown may have chucked his last chuckle and played his last Itchy and Scratchy...

RIP Krusty the Clown? His 10 Best Moments

Bachelorette No Longer: Ashley And JP Rosenbaum Find Out Sex Of Baby On Live TV

After being on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, some people like to retire...

Bachelorette No Longer: Ashley And JP Rosenbaum Find Out Sex Of Baby On Live TV


More recommendations

Advertisement