The Artist Film Review

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By: Guest Writer Tyler Garling
LEESBURG, VA – They don’t make movies like The Artist anymore. It has something special: Perhaps a bit of magic it took from the start of cinema. Michel Hazanavicius directed this silent film. Yes, it’s a silent film about a silent movie star, George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), a man who’s filled with pride after attending the premiere of one of his movies. While posing for the cameras, a young woman in the crowd named Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) bumps into Valentin. The next day, Peppy’s on the cover of all the magazines with a big headline reading “WHO’S THAT GIRL?”
George and Peppy’s lives become more intertwined during the film. Taking place in Hollywood from 1927 to 1932, The Artist deals with the fall of silent pictures and the rise of talkies. George tells his boss (John Goodman) that he can keep his talking pictures, thinking they’ll never catch on. Ironically, Peppy embraces the talking pictures and rises to fame, eventually becoming a famous movie star. Though I could say more, I don’t want to spoil the rest of the film.
The Artist is brilliantly acted. Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo only make me wish I had heard of them sooner. They capture the essence of a silent film perfectly, acting without words. One of my favorite scenes in particular is a very Twilight Zone-esque scene; you’ll know it when you see it. The writing is outstanding too. One of the greatest things about the film is how you can use your imagine for what the actors are saying, as not everything has a text slide after they speak. Ludovic Bource’s score is perfect and carries each scene to the next with a great mix of orchestration and jazz. The cinematography is also outstanding, giving black and white the nice clean shine it has always had.  Eventually, you forget that the film you’re watching was created in 2011. Dujardin reminds me of Gene Kelly in the musical classic Singing in the Rain, a movie which The Artist borrows some elements from.
There are many things you can say about The Artist. It’s different, it’s unique, and it’s fantastic. The one thing I’d have to say is that it’s a special piece of filmmaking, one that doesn’t come around every so often. Every year you have the usual action, horror, and suspense movies, but The Artist adds something new to that, something that not every movie has. The Artist won the Golden Globe for Best Comedy/Musical and, I hardly doubt, that it’ll win Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards. The Artist may not be for everyone, but perhaps this is the time for you to experience something a bit new. I guarantee you’ll leave the theater mesmerized by a great film.