Yesterday, my roomie Christopher and I went to see The Artist. I had not planned on seeing it but did so at Christopher’s behest although sometimes that isn’t always sufficient. A couple months back, I declined his invitation to see The Descendants. You couldn’t pay me to see a George Clooney movie.
For those unfamiliar with The Artist, it is silent movie (well, almost silent) set in the late 1920s and early 1930s and documents the fall of silent movie star Georges Valentin (Jean Dujardin – who has been likened to a French George Clooney) and the rise of talkie starlet Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo – who is married to the film’s screenwriter and director Michel Hazanavicius.) Dujardin and Bejo absolutely light up the screen together. James Broadbent and John Goodman are excellent in supporting roles as is a Jack Russell Terrier named Uggie. But unlike all the other stars of The Artist, Uggie will not be in attendance at this Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremonies. Is the Motion Picture Academy afraid Uggie will stain the red carpet? Far less gracious animals have been allowed to roam the carpet (i.e. Michael Moore, Sean Penn).
Nevertheless, The Artist has received ten Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Actor for Dujardin, Best Supporting Actress for Bejo, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for Hazanavicius as well as nominations for Best Original Score, Art Direction, Cinematography, Costume Design and Film Editing. The music and cinematography were equisite.
This isn’t the first time Hollywood has attempted to return to the silent movie genre. In 1976, Mel Brooks released Silent Movie. A great idea but not that funny. Of course, it’s pretty difficult to top Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. Besides how can you have a silent film in color? With The Artist I actually felt like I was watching a movie made in the early 1930s.
If my recommendation isn’t sufficient then please read our own James Bowman’s review last month.