It was released in some country's in November but did not appear here until last week. I'd been hearing great things about it being an award winner and a HUGE hit, BUT....it is a French film, and...a silent movie. Yes, no dialogue, no sub-titles - an old fashioned silent movie. Hmm. How would this be? I definitely had my doubts. But I fell in love with that darn poster so off we went, Karen & I today. I snagged this review off the internet - and dang if I forgot which publication the credit goes to so I'm sorry. It's a 5-star review which most I've read seem to be. I've done some editing, but it's a GREAT description so I hope you will take time to read it:
It's the late 1920s in Hollywood and handsome George Valentin is a silent movie idol. During the premiere of his latest film, Valentin meets Peppy Miller, a star-struck extra and aspiring actress. The two are attracted to each other and Peppy is given a small dancing role in his next picture. As their romance progresses, Valentin's producer has to cope with a love-struck star who is distracted on the set, Peppy's career begins to take off, and Valentin fears that a new fad in the movie business--talkies--will ruin him…
This new black and white silent set in 1927 took the 2011 Cannes Film Festival by storm. A traditional Star Is Born-story, The Artist is about an actor who watches his girlfriend's career ascend as his is derailed by the arrival of talking pictures. Although a seemingly risky bet for box office success outside of small arthouse niches, the film's charm and delight of discovery, plus its sterling international performances, could make it a breakout hit in theaters, just as it was in Cannes.
Director Michel Hazanavicius, has masterfully captured the tone and spirit of the great silent era without entering into Mel Brooks style send-ups (a la Silent Movie). He clearly has a love for films of the era and has created something new for 2011 that's every bit as viable as those from ‘back in the day.' The Artist is also a compelling movie-within-a-movie about a silent star caught up in major change. Change, and the way we adapt to it, is indeed a major theme of The Artist, as is the need to look to the future, not the past.
George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is a huge silent movie star, a swashbuckling Douglas Fairbanks-type who always appears with his faithful Jack Russell Terrier, Jack (Uggy, in a scene stealing performance). Though he's married he falls for the sweet Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo), whom he meets at the premiere of one of his films. With paparazzi snapping away she soon lands a role in one of his movies. Not long after, studio boss Al Zimmer (John Goodman) clues Valentin in on the new all talking format the industry plans to adopt. Valentin rejects the thought sound pictures and sets off on an elaborate silent project that ends disastrously. With the converging stock market crash of 1929 and the advent of talkies his career is over just as Peppy's is taking off. She becomes a major star while he hits the ropes, comforted only by his faithful companion Jack. Can he make a comeback? Will true love prevail?
Superbly shot in the original 1:33 aspect ratio of the era by Guillaume Schiffman and gorgeously scored to within an inch of its life by Ludovic Bource, production detail is aces throughout. The performers are certainly up to the task to with Cannes Best Actor winner Dujardin earning his accolades. Jumping into silent mode, Dujardin proves he can do anything from comedy to adventure to dancing with ease. Silent emoting is the essence of great screen acting and he fits the bill perfectly. Like Roberto Begnini before him, Dujardine richly deserves a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his work here. It's that good. Bejo matches him with charm and style. The Americans in the cast, John Goodman and James Cromwell as his loyal chauffeur and Penelope Anne Miller as his wife —also acquit themselves nicely. Arguably the REAL star here is Uggy, beating the star of Marley & Me by a mile. The Artist is a film for people who love movies and a movie you are absolutely going to love.
I don't know how to explain this movie but to tell you that by the end when the screen went to credits & before the lights came up all I could say, out loud, was...."I'm in love - with this movie". Other than that I was left speechless. The end tap dancing scene made me want to dance down the isle, but the star of the film, Jean Dujardin, had me sliding off the seat I tell ya! (At the risk of being vulgar here, and I reallly wouldn't want to do that, but well...., it used to be called, "nearly creamed ma jeans" - I shutter to think what it may be called now...). What a BABE! And who doesn't love a guy with a side kick....(second scene stealer - Uggie)
Very reminescent of "Asta" this baby nearly steals the show!
Believe me when I tell you I would NOT take this much time to post or ask you to read something that I was not totally over the top about. HEPCAT, listen up....I know it's the 50's & 60's movies that are your "thing", but grab the Adorable Mz. Kitty and don't walk, RUN to the Tower theatre before January 20th. I'm not sure where else it will be showing but do not miss it. It may be a 20's era movie but you've talked about new movies versus old & the nonsense need for special effects & such in the new films. Well this is a 100% masterpiece of plot driven film. I think you'll both love it.
I want the whole wide world to see it and LOVE IT. It's a look at the "old" brought brilliantly into the "now" for us to love, appreciate and enjoy. DO NOT MISS this film. Take a sec to watch the trailer & no matter what you THINK, just know that you as lovers of all things vintage will fall in love too.
(Who hasn't SWOONED at the movie theatre in a lonnng time)