Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Artist: Movie Review

The Artist
rated PG-13 for a disturbing image and a crude gesture
Starring Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo

Moral Rating: 

I find it incredibly fitting, yet ironic, that a silent film has everyone talking. Indeed, director Michel Hazanvicius's stunning silent film is more gripping and moving than the majority of modern films showing at your local theater. The Artist has already won Golden Globe awards for Best Motion Picture, Best Actor and Best Original Score and the Director's Guild award for Best Director. The Artist is basically on track to sweep the Academy Awards this Spring, and is deserving of its nominations.

Set in the 1920's during the height of silent films, The Artist tells the tale of Hollywood star George Valentin (played superbly by the instantly likable Jean Dujardin). As "talkies" begin to replace silent films, Valentin finds himself replaced by a new set of faces, including the stunning Peppy Miller (portrayed by the ever lovely Bérénice Bejo), a young actress whose start in the film industry was due to Valentin himself. As his career, marriage and happiness crumbles away, Peppy attempts to reach out to help the struggling actor. Valentin fights his own pride all throughout these struggles, ultimately realizing that he must speak out if he is to keep those he cares about. 

As a silent film, The Artist delivers its emotional impact through the actors expressions and gestures rather than spoken dialogue. Combined with an unforgettable score from composer Ludovic Bource, The Artist manages to communicate its heart, its humor and its emotion far more effectively than a traditional "minimalist"style film. Where as a modern motion picture can be somewhat weighty because of the subtleties of acting and the monotonous quality of the music, The Artist channels an era of charming cinema and as a result is spellbinding. I found that I literally could not take my eyes off of the screen because the actors were so charming, the music so moving and the cinematography so riveting. I found that the relationship between lack of dialogue in the film and the silence of George Valentin were inexplicably tied. The story couldn't truly be told in as moving a way if dialogue were used. Instead we find ourselves linked to Valentin as an audience, able to sympathize with his frustrations.

In conclusion, The Artist is perhaps the best movie of 2011 and SHOULD win the Academy Award that recognizes it as such. This film is as much an ode to Hollywood as Martin Scorcese's Hugo, which is also nominated for Best Picture, although far more magical. With such a moving story, such incredible acting on the parts of Dujardin and Bejo and an incredible medium, The Artist is not to be missed. 

Signing out, 
The REAL Bowman