169 of 1001 Movies: The Artist (2011)

The Artist is a movie for both the modern and the classic movie lover. It takes the best of the world from the silent era and puts it into a movie that creates a character connection just by the music and action of the characters. I can’t exactly see all the 5 Oscars win it got, considering silent films aren’t anything new. It seemed like everyone treated it like a new invention that year. Anyways, the score is marvelously done to build the emotion, and you have the little dog who steals the show.

Summary:  George Valentin is a popular silent screen star. When he meets a dancer, Peppy Miller, she instantly catches his eye. After her one screen appearance with him in a silent film flick though her career sky rockets, but hers takes a new and different path into talkies. Valentin is reluctant to move on to talkies, and sticks with silent films. His career dwindles as more movie goers are attracted to talking movies, and Peppy herself. Peppy has never left her interest behind for George though, and as he continues to struggle she reaches out to help him with love and help in his career.
Acting: The acting from the characters is quite solid, but I felt for silent films they were a little underacted. Acting was way more expressive than how the actors in this movie portray it. They almost seem like they are still normally acting like they would in most films that could talk. I think though it would be a struggle to amp up the acting to the point where it was in silent films since Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo already take their acting as the leads, George and Peppy to a quite strong level. The interaction between the two though does convey a lot of chemistry though we never hear them speak to one another. I think of the two that Jean as George was my favorite, and he just looked the part. Berenice’s appearance didn’t fully look 1930’s to me. John Goodman is Al Zimmer who seems to finance the films, and I thought he did quite good with the role. He was very expressive and lively. Also, Clifton is portrayed by a memorable face, James Cromwell.

Filming:  Michel Hazanavicius does a good job with creating the scenery and style of the time, and even capturing the scenes with interesting shots to keep what for some may be very bland scenes, interesting. The angles are slanted at times to convey the growing anxiety of George. These scenes almost seem eerie at times. What really needs to work to get this movie hopping though is the music being aligned just right with the scenes to get that emotion to pop, and that works very well. You even have that glossy feel to the black and white that makes it shine.

Plot: The plot also really works to entertain. It would be difficult to just make a silent film just about anything, so the approach of showing us a time in history for movies really works, and piecing it with a love story gives it heart. There is never a point where it feels the film drags with the story because each scene seems to be hurtling the movie along, and the combination of sound at various time makes the movie pop in unexpected ways. The chemistry feels real, and there are times where the movie just makes you smile.

The Artist is a nice creative pursuit into showcasing movies in time where they have changed more than any other time in history. Talking was one of the biggest changes to movies, and a game changer for actors who couldn’t transition after making their names in silent movies. You have a lot of charming actors and a director who knows how to liven up the scenes with some creativity.

Rating 8 of 10.

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