Michel Hazanavicius' stylistically daring, dialogue-free comedy-drama The Artist stars Jean Dujardin as George Valentin, a matinee idol in Hollywood before the dawn of talkies. His marriage is far from perfect, and one day he meets ambitious chorus girl Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) and is smitten. Very quickly thereafter, sound comes to movies, and George sinks all his money into one last epic silent film, while Peppy becomes a star in the new era. John Goodman co-stars as the head of the film studio working with Valentin. The Artist played at both the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. ~ Perry Seibert, RoviDirector: Daniel Espinosa
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Cast: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller
Release Date: Nov 25, 2011
Rated PG-13 for a disturbing image and a crude gesture.
Runtime: 1 hr. 40 min.
Genres: Art House/Foreign, Comedy
By this point in time if you’ve heard of The Artist, you’ve heard all the buzz on it and there’s probably nothing new or fresh that I’ll be able to tell you about it. Quite simply it’s one of the most charming films you’ll probably see, working with a wonderful “meta” style. This silent film seems like it’d have a huge challenge trying to convey a full fledged, albeit well worn, plot with a dramatic arch. It does it with such ease that any reservations you might have had are quickly quelled and you fall easily and happily under its spell. Jean Dujardin’s smile lights up the screen but it’s just a small portion of his palatable charisma and charm. He doesn’t just deliver the lighter side of the film but traverses the film’s meatier and more emotional portions. A radiant Bérénice Bejo is more than capable as his female counterpart. Her performance as Peppy Miller is one of most enchanting and lovable performances I’ve ever seen. She gives her character and the film an earnest heart and its soul. Hollywood mainstays like John Goodman and James Cromwell turn in impressive supporting roles and the lovable dog, Valentin’s constant companion, deserves a special award. Director Michel Hazanavicius delivers a film that any movie lover should love. It touches on so much about the format that I love all the while telling a beautiful story, a lovely counter point to the current trend of louder larger and bigger.