Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Cast: Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, James Cromwell, John Goodman
Plot: George Valentin, a star of silent movies, watches his career fade into obscurity when the era of talking movies arrives.
Review: Everyone knows the accolades The Artist has received since its release. It has won multiple awards including Oscar honours for Best Picture and Best Actor. It is a tremendous achievement for a silent film that was made in the modern era.
I truly do not know how many people there are left in this world that remembers what it's like to watch a silent film in a theatre or anywhere for that matter. Silent films have a different way of telling a story, where they don't use lengthy dialogue or sound effects. All the audience experiences are moving pictures with typewritten lines inserted during moments when the filmmakers want to say something specific, and the only sound you hear is background orchestral music.
That being said, after watching The Artist, I find it rather fascinating to see a story unfold in this manner. It'll take some getting used to of course, but as the film moves along you'll get caught up in it. What makes The Artist even more relevant is the fact that it's a silent film about the arrival of talking films, which real cinema lovers will surely be able to relate to.
Director Michel Hazanavicius does a splendid job in creating a film that is really authentic to the era it is set in i.e. if you had screened this in the 1920s, it would fit right in with films being seen during that time. Most of the time while watching it, I forgot that it was made in this decade. Another added plus is the plot, which is basically about how some people resist change even when it's inevitable, something which all of us can relate to at some point in our lives.
Jean Dujardin plays George Valentin as a proud, stubborn but likable actor who refuses to adapt to the new era of talking movies, and slowly falls deeper and deeper into a rut. Dujardin certainly benefits from having movie star looks to be the character, and successfully wins the audience's attention as we watch him go. Berenice Bejo also does well as Peppy Miller, an up and coming actress who gets her big break thanks to George and subsequently becomes a star of the talking film era. Their turbulent friendship holds the film together where it matters. Credit must also be given to James Cromwell as George's loyal valet, Clifton. Even though he hardly gets any lines, Cromwell's facial expressions say so much. Special mention goes to Uggy the dog, George's loyal pet dog that does more than just being cute.
To sum it up, The Artist is a faithful creation of a film from the silent era, and a wonderfully made love letter to classic cinema. If you're someone who watches movies to experience the finer points of storytelling and have a genuine love for film, you must see this. Even if you're not that kind of film fan, you should see this once. (4/5)