Watching The Artist is a nostalgic experience taking you back to the silent film era.
Set between the late 1920s and 1930s in Hollywood, the romantic-comedy film directed by Michel Hazanavicius focuses on the rise of talking pictures.
In the film, Jean Dujardin stars as George Valentin, a silent movie star at the peak of his career. After attending one of his film premieres, he encounters a young woman named Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo), in a crowd of adoring fans. When she drops her autograph book, she accidentally bumps into Valentin. While the two have a photo op together, it is unknown between them that their destinies will soon collide.
After the premiere, Miller finds herself auditioning for a dance role in one of Valentin’s films. When Valentin spots her, he insists for her to be cast in the studio’s next production despite protests from Al Zimmer (played by John Goodman), the studio boss.
From there, Miller slowly rises in the industry with the help of Valentin and earns more and more starring roles. And while Miller’s career and life starts to unfold, Valentin’s on the other hand, starts to fall apart. With the arrival of the talkies, his silent career starts to fail.
Nominated for 10 Oscars, The Artist is undoubtedly one of the year’s best films. From Ludovic Bource’s lively and dramatic original score to Mark Bridges’ gorgeously designed costumes, the film is a sentimental tribute to the silent era.
Between the dead-on facial expressions and the chemistry between the two leads, the Artist is a charmer from start to finish. In fact, the acting is so good that even Valentin’s obedient dog Uggie manages to steal some of the scenes!
While retro and simple, Hazanavicius’ direction truly brings to light the nostalgia of silent, black and white films of the past.
There’s no need for expensive special effects or even much dialogue to make it resonate with the audience.
The film itself, says more than enough.