Who would have thought that in 2012 a silent, black and white movie would win the Best Picture Oscar, not to mention Best Director, Actor, etc.
While it’s not for all tastes, The Artist is a movie for movie lovers. It’s for people like this reviewer who still enjoys some silent movies and considers colour versus black and white a non-argument. One of the best things about this movie is that while it is a homage to silent movies (and even satirizes them a bit) it is also a tribute to classic films like Citizen Kane, Sunset Blvd., Singin’ in the Rain and Vertigo, even if they have sound or colour.
Oscar-winning Best Actor Jean Dujardin plays a silent movie star (modelled on Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.) who falls on hard times when sound arrives in Hollywood. However, a successful sound actress (modelled on Joan Crawford), wonderfully played by Berenice Bejo, that he befriended before she was a star, comes to his rescue. The leads are very appealing, as is the supporting cast with people like James Cromwell and John Goodman. Uggie, Dujardin’s faithful dog, steals many a scene too.
The film is put together beautifully; camerawork, set design, music (yes, it’s not completely silent) and is absolutely believable as a silent film from the 20s, even using the proper screen ratio.
It’s a simple feel-good movie; heartfelt, humourous, charming and deserving of all the praise and awards it’s received. It makes you realize how often dialogue is unnecesary in a movie.
Rating: five deer out of five
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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.