An ode to the silent-era of filmmaking, director Michel Hazanavicius labour of love, The Artist has garnered acclaim from around the globe. Its already won numerous awards and been nominated for 10 Oscars, so naturally expectations must be sky-high and for that very rare occasion, the hype is justified. This movie will have even the most sceptical of us, clapping and cheering by the time the curtains fall. The manner in which the movie wins you over is nothing short of magical to say the least.
The plot concerns the downfall of a silent era actor, George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) whose successful career is suddenly put in jeopardy by the advent of talkie cinema. His downfall contrasts the rise of actress, Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) who ironically gets noticed amongst the crowd of hundreds thanks to a moment of serendipity with George. As George plummets to new lows, Peppys stock rises and as the world welcomes the new with much fanfare, it forgets the old as if they never existed. Peppy however doesnt forget George and at various points tries to pull him out of his freefall. Will George ever accept the changes the world brings? Will he rise like the phoenix again? The show will still go on folks...
Michel Hazanavicius expertly mimics the technical styling of the silent-era films and doesnt merely use it as a gimmick but faithfully recreates sets, camera angles, costumes and even mannerisms adorably. You will be transported to the era and the golden age of filmmaking effortlessly. The music grows on you, accentuating the onscreen happenings and breathing a life of its own in to the film.
The themes of the movie, particularly that of the advent of technology and how it renders the old obsolete, nicely compliments the very existence of the film.
While Jean Dujardin & Berenice Bejo slip into their characters like an old glove, the real star of the movie for me is Uggie the dog. Adorable doesnt even begin to describe Uggie and hes sure to be loved by all those who watch the film. Jean Dujardin has a great smile and expressive eyes which he uses to great effect along with the right body language that almost instantly reminds you of the stars of the silent-era. Berenice Bejo on the other hand lives upto her name in the film and is suitably peppy without looking like shes hamming it up. There are other recognisable names in the cast with small roles such as, John Goodman, Malcom McDowell & James Cromwell.
The Artists greatest strength is its simplicity and how without dialogue it manages to weave a tale that manages to touch your heart and thrill your visceral senses. Its a love letter of the highest calibre to the golden era of cinema; dont miss it for the world.