“The Artist” is a gutsy attempt to do something different in Hollywood. The scenery is fantastic, the actors are competent, but the story may be too simplistic and trite for many, especially people under the age of forty.
One wonders how it won a Golden Globe for the best picture of the year.
The actors do get to show off their acting abilities. Emotions show on their faces, and they use their bodies to best advantage. John Goodman (Al Zimmer) demonstrates his nonverbal acting abilities. He plays a shrewd, but likeable, movie producer.
The story is quite simple. George Valentine (Jean Dujardin) is a silent actor adored by everyone, including himself. In the opening scene, he takes a bow, and won’t get off the stage. The little dog who is featured in movies with him is much more engaging and appealing.
You know he is in for trouble when Al Zimmer shows him a talkie. A lovely ingenue, Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) adores Valentine. In the beginning of the movie she boldly kisses him. Later on, she sneaks into his dressing room and caresses his tuxedo. This is the most sensual scene in the movie.
It’s the most sensual scene you’re going to see in this movie. As Valentine goes downward in popularity, she becomes more famous. Zimmer fires him, and makes her a talkies star.
She is deeply in love with Valentine, and keeps looking out for him. Even when he becomes a washed up drunk.
The youth of today would probably be bored by the black and white film, and the absence of sound from 99% of the movie. I don’t want to ruin the surprise by telling you when you hear anything at all.
The real star of the film is a little cute dog who provides a bit of diversion, and may entertain the animal lovers out there. He almost seems more human than the main character.
If you’ve ever been knocked down, and had to fight your way back you may be able to feel some empathy for Mr. Valentine.
If your used to car chases, special effects, and explicit sex, don’t see this movie. If you need a tricky plot to keep you interested, this isn’t for you. If you like to hear human voices, definitely stay away.
It did hold my interest 75% of the time, but I was expecting more than I received. I would bet this is going to be the only silent movie made for another 100 or so years.
I give it a C+The + is for having the nerve to put out a movie like this in the 21st century. I’m guessing that is why the Academy of Motion Pictures gave it 10 Oscar nominations.
If you want to see a good silent movie, check out one of Mary Pickford’s old movies