Aug 10, 2012

Movie Review: The Artist

Premise:
In 1927, wealthy actor George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is the king of the silent movie world. With troubles in his own marriage, George falls for a pretty young dame named Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) he helps land a few bit parts in his movies. George isn't the only one to go head over heels for Peppy though. George's studio is flirting with the idea of evolving their business into strictly "talkies", and wants the charismatic and spunky Peppy Miller as their new big thing. For Peppy and the film company, all goes according to plan and business is booming, but George Valentin refuses to adapt to the new world of sound and voice in film, and his clinging to the past costs him dearly.




Standouts:
Obviously the first thing that stands out is that this is a silent film. Director/writer Michel Hazanavicius put a lot of time and love into this homage to the films of the 20's. The acting was top notch, particularly by the dog, Jack (real name Uggie).

My Highlights:
Policeman to the rescue, everything Malcom McDowell - who drew a lot of sympathy, and the last scene of the film.



Overall Rating
I cannot deny the utter beauty and importance of this homage to classic films, and cannot argue the awards this film won for best original screenplay. A silent film in 2011 is an absurd idea that was likely laughed at by many production companies. The Weinstein Company is probably the only production company with enough phony toughness or crazy braveness to give this film a go. It'll hold an importance place in this generation's film history. On the flipside however, I was bored to tears by it. I liked parts of the film and enjoyed it as an homage, but have been utterly desensitized by decades of dramatic talkies. I could appreciate The Artist for it's historical relevance in film history, but couldn't appreciate it enough to blow it up bigger than I think it was. Sound or no sound, there just wasn't a lot of action or forward momentum in story to keep my attention glued to the screen. This is especially a problem because the film is only 100 minutes long. Overall rating...

3 / 5

When You Should See It:
Only if you're a seasoned movie veteran or watching it with a seasoned movie veteran. Maybe you don't have to have grown up watching silent films, but you should be someone knowledgeable or interested about that era to really get your full enjoyment. Personally, it only made me enjoy that much more Charlie Chaplin's big speech when he transitioned into talkies.