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

Editors Recommendations

Jodie Foster Is Now A Married Woman! Wait, When Did That Happen?

Congratulations to Jodie Foster and Alexandra Hedison, who just tied the knot this week!...

Jodie Foster Is Now A Married Woman! Wait, When Did That Happen?

Olivia Wilde And Jason Sudeikis Welcome Baby Otis Into The World

Babies, babies everywhere! The latest addition to the Hollywood brood is little Otis...

Olivia Wilde And Jason Sudeikis Welcome Baby Otis Into The World

Adventurer And "Bachelorette" Contestant Dies After Paragliding Incident

Eric Hill, a Bachelorette contestant, who was severely injured in a paragliding accident...

Adventurer And

Richard Gere's New Lady Love, Who Is Padma Lakshmi?

Actor Richard Gere and cookbook author Padma Lakshmi are allegedly an item...

Richard Gere's New Lady Love, Who Is Padma Lakshmi?

Tom Hardy secretly weds?

The 'Locke' actor has praised long-term partner Charlotte Riley - who he started dating in 2009...

Tom Hardy - Tom Hardy secretly weds?

Laura Prepon Squashes Speculation Claiming She Is Dating Tom Cruise

Laura Prepon and Tom Cruise and not dating, despite numerous rumors that suggest they are...

Laura Prepon Squashes Speculation Claiming She Is Dating Tom Cruise

Joan Rivers Said What? Comedienne's Latest Scandal Gets Ariel Castro Kidnapping Victims Involved

People are once again outraged at something Joan Rivers said – what else is new? The 80-year-old...

Joan Rivers Said What? Comedienne's Latest Scandal Gets Ariel Castro Kidnapping Victims Involved

Lupita Nyong'o Is Crowned People Magazine's Most Beautiful Women

The 31 year-old actress, who was virtually unknown when cast in Steve McQueen's '12 Years A Slave'...

 Lupita Nyong'o Is Crowned People Magazine's Most Beautiful Women

Wow, Mean Girls Could Have Been A Very Different Movie. Casting Changes and Alternate Endings

Amazingly, it's been a decade since the release of Mean Girls, the movie that has become...

Wow, Mean Girls Could Have Been A Very Different Movie. Casting Changes and Alternate Endings


More recommendations