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The Artist

A movie directed by Michel Hazanavicius

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The Artist

  • Dec 31, 2011
The Artist has the opportunity to alienate a lot of people before anyone even steps up to the ticket counter. The movie is done in black and white, it is mostly a silent movie, and there is little chance you will recognize either lead actor. While this may deter some people from seeing it I encourage you not to be one of them. The Artistis a beautifully crafted movie, and within a couple months may be declared the best movie of the year.

The Artist is a silent movie about the silent movie era. It follows two different careers and how they intersect while the industry transitions to the talkie era. These two actors could very well be right out of the 1920's. It stars Jean Dujardin as George Valentine, the king of Hollywood during the silent film era. After his most recent premiere he bumps into Peppy Miller played by Berenice Bejo. You may not know their names now, but I'm sure the Academy does, these two play to the era perfectly and look the part to boot. While on camera they are able to capture the era by hamming it up, but when the characters are alone they play down their parts. They display every thought perfectly to the audience, who needs words when you already know exactly what’s been said.

It isn't exactly a silent movie though, not only is there a scant bit of dialogue but there are also some perfectly placed sound effects to accentuate the moment. Also throughout the movie is a beautifully made soundtrack done by Ludovic Bource. While far more elaborate than any orchestra would play at the time; the score keeps a modern audience engaged throughout the many mood swings of the story. Listen closely and you may also hear pieces of Bernard Herrmann's score from Vertigo. Actually they pretty much lift the piece entirely, along with the breakfast table scene from Citizen Kane. No matter though, they fit the piece perfectly.

While all about the Hollywood era this isn't like one of the movies that the studios would look to crank out by Thursday. It looks more like an early French film than early Hollywood which would make sense because while it was shot in LA this is a French movie. Although you would never notice it as there are plenty of American actors and no French accents. The moments that give away the film’s origin are on screen in the director's artistic choices that very few American directors would even attempt. Contemporary directors would have a hard time getting support to make a silent, black and white film in this era. Making it all the more impressive that Michel Hazanavivius wrote and directed such a beautifully crafted film, in a 1.33 aspect ratio no less.

While careful to detail some aspects of the time the production crew are quick to abandon others. Gone are the soft focus close ups of the time, replaced with a clearer image more prevalent today. More important to the filmmakers are capturing the mood, energy, and emotional appeal. A direct tribute may have kept more people away; capturing moments using techniques from across the first half of the century will get more people inside the movie house. This isn't a movie done in the times, so much as a tribute to times gone by.

The movie has it all and captures almost every genre from comedy to melodrama to romance; it is as silly as it is serious. The plot is probably as predictable as any goodhearted movie of the era. Part of the charm of the movie is they are playing with old Hollywood clichés especially in the first half. While it comes off as corny at times we allow this trespass to occur because despite knowing what is coming we want to see how.

The technique of The Artist is grand but it is the performances of the artists that capture the audience. Every look and movement by these two actors brings to life an era that reflects a modern life of things constantly being left behind. They are able to be cheesy when showing off for the camera, but also capture a soft sincere look that will melt your heart. This is a beautifully done movie that will have you smiling long after you leave the theater. A

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February 17, 2012
Typically not my type of movie, but your wonderful review may have changed my mind! Thanks!
January 01, 2012
Good write-up for the fans !
December 31, 2011
My friend gave me a high rec for this one. Seems like it is getting some mixed ratings, but they all seem to tell me to see it somehow. Thanks for the write up!
More The Artist reviews
review by . December 31, 2011
The little dog saves the day - Not overly impressed with The Artist
A lot of people really like this movie.  A lot of critics really like this movie.  The judges at Cannes really liked this movie.   So I went to see The Artist with lots of high expectations.  Maybe I read too many reviews and critical analysis of the film.   Maybe I was expecting too much.  But I was somewhat disappointed with the movie.   For me the best thing about the movie was the very talented little dog who steals the show in my opinion.   I felt the …
review by . December 30, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****    "The Artist" has all the qualities and bare essentials of your everyday cinematic crowd-pleaser; minus the fact that most films these days aren't (almost) completely silent, whereas this one is (fair warning to those who value sound in cinema). A film of good humor and charm, it had its premiere at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, where it was met with much acclaim. I was finally given the grand opportunity of seeing the film a few evenings ago at the Angelika …
review by . January 23, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
   Michel Hazanavicius' reverence towards the artistry of the era of silent films lashes out a poetic mediation on Hollywood and also on the life of the artists that we adore. "The Artist" jumps over the gimmick form and gives it's content a great value. Filled with emotion and joy, the film succeeds to deliver not only one of the best tributes to our cinema but also one of the sweetest love stories and stories of struggle and dedication.      The …
review by . November 26, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         The Artist is cinematic perfection – a joyous celebration of everything that makes the movies so wonderful. Set during the end of Hollywood’s silent era, it surely must have been a labor of love for writer/director Michel Hazanavicius, because in this day and age, a filmmaker does not lightly make the decision to tell an image-driven story in the language of melodrama. He pays careful attention to the technical aspects. It’s a …
review by . June 27, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
As the story opens, it is 1929, and we meet George Valentin, a dashing matinée idol who thrills his fans with his silent movies. He meets a star-struck young lady named Peppy and helps her get into show business as a extra. Soon, she's rising to super-stardom, while George's star begins to fade.      This is a gimmick movie; a silent, black and white homage to silent and early talkies. The actors mug and ham it up throughout the film, the story is sweet and predictable, …
Quick Tip by . March 12, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Ok, so I had a little too many Irish coffees when I went to see this with my friends (they‘re a couple so they were more into the movie, I tried really hard to focus on the movie despite the alcohol LOL!), and this isn’t usually my kind of movie, but The Artist was a pretty clever film that is cute, entertaining, upbeat and can serve as a homage to past silent cinema.      It was excellently executed as with the style, direction, sly humor and acting. The leads …
review by . September 17, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
True Artistry
THE ARTIST Written and Directed by Michel Hazanavicius Starring Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, John Goodman and James Cromwell   George Valentin (on a title card): I won’t talk. I won’t say a word!   Some critics would be hard pressed to find genuine artistry in the film industry today, but they needn’t look any further than THE ARTIST, French director, Michel Hazanavicius’s homage to another era. It is a fine celebration of the cinema and the art involved …
Quick Tip by . December 04, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Anyone interested in a little more insight into this fantastic film should check out my interview with The Artist director, Michel Hazanavicius and star, Jean Dujardin ...    Thanks for reading!
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Member Since: Nov 15, 2010
Last Login: Dec 11, 2012 10:01 PM UTC
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About this movie



Music, Movies, Film, Drama, Romance, Reviews, Hollywood, Cinema, Julian Left, 2011, The Artist, Silent Film, Jean Dujardin, Michel Hazanavicius, Berenice Bejo


Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama
Release Date: 23 November 2011 (USA)
Screen Writer: Michel Hazanavicius
Runtime: 100 min
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"True Artistry"
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