A silent movie star loses everything when talking pictures become
popular, but a young actress helps him get his life back on track.
The Artist (2011)
Written and Directed by Michel Hazanavicius
Starring Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman,
James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller, Missi Pyle
Oscar Wins - Best Picture, Best Actor (Jean Dujardin), Best Director, Best Original Score (Ludovic Bource), Best Costume Design
Oscar Nominations - Best Supporting Actress (Bérénice Bejo),
Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Art Direction
Silent movies are special, and they always have been. They were the tool that early filmmakers used to create the art of movies. Without them, the world would be a much harsher place. The Artist is a throwback to the days of Hollywood's uncertain years, where movies were still an experimental art form and nobody knew what constituted a hit motion picture. It's an infectiously enjoyable dramedy that's aided by Ludovic Bource's impressive score. Finding something to like about this one is all too easy, and I can see why this took top prize at the 2012 Oscars.
French actor Jean Dujardin plays silent movie star George Valentin, who up and loses everything when Hollywood makes the switch to talkies. Dujardin steals the show, conveying everything from joy to heartbreak to suicidal thoughts all without a single line of dialogue. It really makes you appreciate actors from the 1920's and 1930's. They were able to illicit emotion with just a single look, something that few actors these days can pull off. Alongside him is Bérénice Bejo as talkie superstar Peppy Miller, who helps Valentin get his life together because he once showed her kindness when she was just starting out. Their chemistry and compassion for one another keeps The Artist from becoming a gimmick and makes it real.
Any fan of early 20th century filmmaking will adore this film. It celebrates the importance of the past and reminds us to embrace the surprises of the future. The Artist is a labor of love dedicated to every soul who's ever been enraptured by their favorite movie. It's films like these that let us know that sometimes the movies cared about us too.