I recently had the pleasure to see ‘The Artist’, which is a film that has generated tons of Oscars buzz for director Michel Hazanavicius and actor Jean Dujardin. In fact, Dujardin has already picked up Best Actor awards at such heavy-hitters as the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, the 2012 Golden Globes, and the 2012 Screen Actors Guild Awards. Hazanavicius is doing pretty well himself – he’s received universal acclaim and over 15 awards for his duties as director and screenwriter for the film.

Poster for "The Artist"

This movie is shot entirely in black-and-white, with very, very little dialogue. Essentially this is a silent film about the decline of Hollywood’s silent film era and the rise of the talkies. As you can see in the movie poster above, this film re-creates the look and atmosphere of Hollywood in the 1920s and 30s. The men have perfectly sculpted hair, tiny mustaches, and are impeccably dressed. The women have tightly curled hair, beautiful flapper dresses and hats, and can dance a mean Charleston.

George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is a silent film superstar. At the premiere of his latest film, ‘A Russian Affair’, a young and adoring woman named Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) accidentally bumps into Valentin. The moment is caught by reporters and the next day her face is plastered all over the newspaper. This new fame helps her wiggle her way into her first silent film and her career begins to take off.

Peppy joins Hollywood at the right time, because she is the new face for the much-anticipated ‘talkie’ era. George is a little more resistant and this film chronicles his frustration with the decline of his career. There’s also a subplot where the audience witnesses Peppy’s patient and enduring love for the star who indirectly launched her career.

George and Peppy from The Artist

I simply adored this movie. I’m a huge sucker for the classic black-and-white Hollywood films and I feel this movie really does justice to the era it depicts. I love the sparing use of title cards because it really makes you watch the characters’ facial expressions and body language to figure out what’s happening in the scene. This  movie is also sped up a little bit, just like the films of the 1920s. Nice!!

Lastly, I must say this: Jean Dujardin is incredibly handsome in his role as George Valentin. Dujardin is a frontrunner for the Oscars Best Actor award and I’ll be glued to my TV later this month to root for him.

George Valentin Jean Dujardin

Alot of movie theaters in my area have stopped showing The Artist. If you haven’t seen it yet get out and catch it before it leaves your area. You may want to check your local artsy fartsy movie theater. 🙂


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