The Artist [2011] ★★★★

My favorite movie of the year is not a blockbuster or a superhero movie or even Harry Potter. It’s a movie called “The Artist”, a black and white silent film with subtitles and all. In many ways-hell in all ways-“The Artist” is a stunningly beautiful film. There were times when I forgot I was watching a brand new picture. That’s no easy accomplishment, but the film is so masterfully crafted, it could easily be mistaken for a classic. I’d be an asshole if I say that “The Artist” is a flawed film. Because truth be told (and I’m a very picky person), there is literally nothing wrong with it. I don’t have a single complaint. From the first frame to the last, the movie is pure magic. It is living proof that movies have no need for sex, violence, colors, or even a dialogue to be moving, funny, engaging and most of all, entertaining. The story is relatively simple and takes plot elements from so many classics such as “Sunset Blvd.”, “A Star Is Born” and even “Singing In The Rain”. French actor Jean Dujardin is simply terrific as George Valentin, the charming star of countless silent-movie epics. His character is a cross between Rudolph Valentino and Douglas Fairbanks, and his smile is, in a way, evocative of those men. When we first meet him, it’s 1927, and he is on top of the world; a famous screen lover and an action-adventure hero. After the premiere of one of his movies, he meets an aspiring actress, Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo), and gives her a break. But then talkies arrive, and his star status starts declining just as hers begins to rise. Only his driver and his dog stick around through his fall. Why doesn’t George give talkies a try? This question is eventually answered at some point, but honestly and touchingly, in the way a great silent movie would. To quote Sunset Blvd.’s Norma Desmond: “I am big. It’s the pictures that got small”.

I shouldn’t reveal more. But I will say that in director Michel Hazanavicius’s hands, “The Artist” becomes art. Best of all, he recreates an era everyone thought was dead and buried. He builds it in the Chaplin manner. In the Buster Keaton manner. And in the Harold Lloyd manner, creating a complete, ravishing Hollywood world and reveling in the sheer transporting joy of it.  Now we can really say that in Dujardin’s performance, we discover something extraordinary and magical: the first great silent movie performance in over 80 years. It truly is the stuff that dreams are made of.

Rating: 4/4

23 replies »

  1. Great review. Movie magic is back apparently. You’ve mentioned movies such as “Sunset Blvd.”, “A Star Is Born” and “Singing In The Rain” ..I’ve [literally] got goosebumps (can’t help it when it comes to movies!) . I also want to watch “Hugo” because of how Scorsese has taken some plot elements from old masterpieces ( like “Safety Last!” of course 😉 )

    • You just mentioned Safety Last! One of my all time favorites :p I cant wait for Hugo. Scorsesse might be a great director, but he’s also a huge movie buff. And yes, The Artist is a tribute to so many classic movies. I was speechless for 100 minutes. How I love the silent era!

  2. who doesn’t? “The Circus”..”City Lights”…oh and “Modern Times” 🙂 do you read books? ( i mean elak jalad:?) if yes..and you like silent movies..i HIGHLY recommend you “The book of illusions” by Paul Auster ( brilliant man) other than being a great novel, it’s about a silent actor who made a man laugh after a terrible tragedy,so that man start to investigate about that actor and so on…the first 100 pages are pure descriptions of silent films, brilliantly written with incredible details! 🙂

    • I will definitely check this one. Can I find it here? Or do I have to order it from amazon? I love reading books about movies :p Thats all I do actually. They enrich my life.

  3. yeah…you can easily find it at Virgin. but to be honest it’s not like a book about movies (like masters of cinema) 😛 HAHA…it’s a novel 😛 and it’s a slow paced novel 😛 but it happened and the protagonist became fascinated with that actor, so he watched all of his films and write a book about them…you can check the plot online (Wikipedia) before buying it. (in this case ..if u hated it..you can’t blame me (A) )

  4. Finally i watched it. (now you know:P) this is an astonishing achievement. the performances by the leads Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo is..perfection! I couldn’t believe this is a 2011 movie! Michel Hazanavicius is a revelation. the whole post production crew did an incredible job. it was technically impressive as well! everything was perfect the editing, the lighting, the sets..( the staircase scene was truly superb) and THE MUSIC! a true love letter to cinema, this is a movie to remember. absolutely the best picture of the year. i can’t wait to see it again! oh..did I say how funny the movie was?

    • Technically and visually, it’s the best movie of 2011. If The Academy dismisses it, I’m going to be very very angry :p I already can’t wait to see it again. It really is a masterpiece!

  5. with no movies about the holocaust (well there is one the foreign films category)..”the artist” has a good chance 😛

  6. it’s so overrated anis…i found it good but boring. i love the actors but it’s tooooo much for me.. not a negative comment but i wouldnt consider it as the best movie or the year..

  7. btw please watch Mr. nobody and i am here waiting for you review. for me it’s one of the best movies i ever watched so far..concept wise, acting, cinematography, SOUNDTRACK..just everything

    • I got Mr. Nobody. Will watch it soon! And about “The Artist”, for me it was definitely the best of 2011. Not everyone agrees with me, but to each his own I guess :p

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