Set in 1927 Hollywood, we follow silent film star George Valentin(Jean Dujardin). He stars in multiple types of films all of them also co-star his Jack Russell terrier. He is the dream of every woman, he is obsessed with his own career. He runs into a beautiful woman, Peppy Miller(Berenice Bejo) at a premier, she becomes an over night sensation and she makes her way into the movies. But, the arrival of sound films or “talkies”, slowly people change their tastes for film and Valentin doesn’t know how to change with the times and battles his own ego and failures.
This film is a love letter to early movies, the film is in black and white, it’s silent minus one or two brilliant scenes. What is interesting is we’ve had a lot homages to older genres, most of them wink at the audience or are mainly tongue in cheek comedy. The Artist is an actual film that works on its own and never really has to wink at the audience it simply tells a story. Many people don’t know that silent film actors were destroyed when sound came to film, many of them didn’t have voices that people at the time would enjoy. Many had accents and couldn’t find work once sound came to the movies.
Now The Artist might sound like a depressing story, but mainly it’s very funny. The dog named “Uggy” gets a lot of laughs here actually. The jokes are not on the nose and in sense classic. The love story is also very touching and both leads work very well on screen together, they are both charming, and one scene at the end involving dancing, I couldn’t help but smile. Everyone involved here, especially director Michel Hazanavicius deserve nominations, in my opinion this movie deserves to win a truck load of awards.
For many people this movie will be hard to swallow at first, the audience I was with seemed a little surprised the film was silent. Younger people especially might not “get it” at first, it being black and white and no dialogue. Still after that initial response everyone will be won over by this story. It is hard not to smile while watching this film. I’ll go as far as this, The Artist is one of my favorite movies this year, after a couple more viewings it might go into one of my top favorite movies ever.