The Artist

If a silent movie is shown in a theater, and nobody is there to watch it, did it actually happen?

We nearly found out over the weekend, fortunately for the fine folks at Cinemark my wife and I (along with a special guest appearance by my parents) took in the "Early Bird" showing of The Artist. A silent film about an actor in the 1920's who is unsure about the new wave of movies called "talkies".

George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is the biggest star in Hollywoodland. The cinemas are always packed to see his latest film, and he is the toast of the town. After a screening of his latest project he bumps (literally) into a young lady named Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo). Upon being photographed by all of the media in attendance and some perseverance at her next audition, this beautiful young lady begins taking the town by storm.

When the director at the big studio that Valentin and now Miller are a part of decides to take on the latest in technological advances, sound in movies, Valentin has his doubts. Being the big star that he is he's able to stand his ground and walk out on Al Zimmer (John Goodman). He decides to finance, direct, produce, and star in his own film, while Miller sticks with the studio and stars in her first feature film, a talkie.

What happens after is a story about love, friendship, working towards your dream, and having it all crash down around you. Despite the lack of dialogue you will feel exactly what the actors are projecting, and hang on ever... well action.

I had some hesitations going into the theater as to how I would enjoy a black and white silent film. The soundtrack quickly erased any doubts I may have had. I was tapping my toes, and soaking in the sounds of the 20's all throughout the film. Despite the two stars of the film being relative unknowns (at least in America), The Artist has some great star power with Goodman, and James Cromwell. Both characters are great in their supporting roles as the big shot director, and the personal valet respectively.

The Artist is gaining a lot of buzz for the Academy Award for Best Picture. I wanted to be able to come out of the theaters and poke holes in that theory and hand the Oscar to The Descendants. Unfortunately the silence as they say... is golden.

The Artist
Directed by: Michel Hazanavicius
Written by: Michel Hazanavicius
Starring: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo and John Goodman
My Rating: 4.25 out of 5
Would Gene Pick it?: Yes

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