Directed by Michel Hazanavicius
Starring: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller
This movie has taken the awards season by storm with its charm and unique styling. Michel Hazanavicius wrote and directed this movie which has earned numerous awards including an astounding 10 Academy Award nominations. The film features an international cast including Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell, and Penelope Ann Miller.
Silent film star George Valentin (Dujardin) has reached the top, only to find that the bar has been raised by talking films. As his star begins to fade he connects with a young Hollywood hopeful Peppy Miller (Bejo) whose own star is on the rise. As George continues to see his career fade away, he’s also watching Peppy soar into stardom. Throughout it all he holds out hope that his fame can be regained.
This modern-day silent film is an artful and fun movie from start to finish. The acting is great, especially considering the lack of dialogue throughout the movie. Dujardin and Bejo have a natural chemistry on the screen. All of the other actors in the film also work together wonderfully, even the dog takes on a starring role in some of the scenes.
Visually, the movie is successful in almost every way. The camera work and the sets work wonderfully all the way through the movie.
The score of The Artist carries the film wonderfully, highlighting the highs and lows throughout the story. The film even makes use of the love theme from Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo which was written by Bernard Herrmann. Director Michel Hazanavicius said, “The Artist was made as a love letter to cinema, and grew out of my admiration and respect for movies throughout history. It was inspired by the work of Hitchcock, Lang, Ford, Lubitsch, Murnau and Wilder. I love Bernard Herrmann and his music has been used in many different films and I’m very pleased to have it in mine.”
It might be fair to say that 2011 was the year we looked back at cinema’s roots with an idealistic and hopeful set of eyes. From The Artist and Martin Scorsese’s Hugo we got a chance to see what movies are really capable of, and also where they began. There isn’t really a good way to explain what makes this movie work. I encourage you to go out and see this one. I give this movie 4.8 out of 5 stars.