I enjoyed The Artist. It’s a great tribute to old Hollywood. Jean Dujardin is outstanding as George Valentin, star of silent movies and a cheerful egotist. He’s riding high when he meet Peppy Miller and a momentary flirtation leads to her big break. But as the industry changes, George finds himself cast aside in favor of “fresh meat” like Peppy, who speaks and sings in the new talkies. George’s final film, Tears of Love, is a flop while Peppy’s Beauty Spot catapults her to true fame.
There’s lots to like about The Artist, including John Goodman (he chooses the best films, doesn’t he?) and James Cromwell as George’s devoted valet. The actors sometimes mimic silent movie conventions, mugging wildly, and other times just silently act, showing us how difficult it can be to express complex emotions without saying lines.
I also appreciate a movie that isn’t plowing the same old ground. (Cough, cough, The Help.) I can honestly say I’ve never seen an almost totally silent, black-and-white film (from the modern era) and it was refreshing.
Finally, I can’t finish this post without mentioning Uggie, a Jack Russell terrier who won a Golden Collar for his work as George’s devoted pet and co-star. Dog lovers will adore him.