Marvellous; one of the best movie experiences you'll ever have (by RolyRoly)
The Artist arrived at the Toronto International Film Festival preceded by the accolades it received at Cannes, so expectations were high, but those expectations have been more than amply fulfilled. This film is an absolute marvel - charming, witty, surprising, moving, clever and beautiful. Filmmaking is about decisions, thousands and thousands of them, and everyone involved in The Artist makes every decision to perfection. The cinematography is ravishing in luminous black and white. The musical score, on which the film, being silent, is so dependant, is subtle when it needs to be subtle, <more>
dramatic when the occasion calls for it, and never overbearing or overwrought. The screenplay yes, silent films do have screenplays toys with the conventions of the silent era, paying homage to some of the greatest films of the first two or three decades of cinema history. The acting is flawless, extracting emotion and humour from a simple but classic storyline. The direction displays such self-assurance, and treats the audience with such respect, that it is almost like having a dialogue with the director.The Artist is one of the most enjoyable movie experiences I have ever had. It deserves a wide audience and all sorts of awards. I can hardly wait to see it again.And oh yes, if there is ever an Oscar for best animal performance, the dog in The Artist should receive a lifetime achievement award for this role alone.
A Masterpiece that will leave you ... Speechless ... (by ElMaruecan82)
«We didn't need dialogs, we had faces» said the narcissistic Norma Desmond Gloria Swanson in Billy Wilder' "Sunset Boulevard", referring to the Silent Era, when she used to be big before the 'pictures got small'.The reason of this introduction is that after watching Michel Hazanavicius' critically acclaimed: "The Artist", I strongly felt this was the perfect illustration to Norma Desmond's iconic eulogy. From beginning to end, my eyes never ceased to be amazed by the communicative smile of Jean Dujardin as George Valentin, the aging silent <more>
movie star and the sparkling eyes of Berenice Bejo as Peppy Miller, the young and flamboyant starlet. Their faces occupy the screen with such an electrifying magnetism that they don't just steal the scenes, they steal the dialogs literally.I was awestruck by Dujardin's performance. To those who didn't grew up with French TV programs, he's one of the most popular and talented comedians of his generation. Dujardin created the character of Brice de Nice, a blonde surfer whose specialty was to 'diss people', but it was so funny it never sounded mean-spirited. He was a member of a cult comic-troop who made sketches à la SNL but even back then, he had a little something that made him special: a voice, a smile, a charisma in both TV and movies, in both dramatic and comedic register. There was no doubt in France that the guy who was famous for his impressions of Robert De Niro and the camel and even De Niro doing the camel was promised to a brilliant career.Look closely at Jean Dujardin's face, it's like drawn with 'classic' features: the finely traced mustache who builds a Fairbanks-like charisma like the strength from Samson's hair, the dazzling smile making him look like the lost son of Gene Kelly, and a certain macho toughness reminding of a young Sean Connery. Dujardin's face is a gift from cinematic Gods, and "The Artist" finally lets it glide, earning him the Cannes Festival Award for Best Actor. I sincerely believe he deserves an Oscar nomination, because he just doesn't play an actor from the Silent Era, he embodies the Era with the same level of demented craziness as Norma Desmond, in a brighter and more light-hearted side.Valentin's self-absorption echoes Desmond's cynical ego while his gaudy 'Don Lockwood' mask Gene Kelly in "Singin' in the Rain" hides the more poignant face of his insecurity. He's the star of the screen because only the screen allows him to express his unique talent. While Lockwood had to adapt to the 'talking' revolution, George Valentin makes a conservative U Turn starting an inexorable descent into madness, from an outcast, to a has-been until being finally alienated by his own talkie-phobia. The direction is so clever that it challenges many times our perceptions, creating unexpected feelings of discomfort when real sounds are heard. But I was surprised to see how much it worked on a dramatic level.And this is the strength of the film, although I expect it to discomfort some viewers: it isn't a tribute in the literary meaning of the word. It has its moments where it tricks us into the use of sounds or dialogs, but never fails to distract us from the core of the story: the romance. Very quickly, we forget about spotting the hints, the references to silent classics: chase scenes, over-the-top comical gesticulations, slapstick jokes etc. This mindset would disappoint those who expected a film with the same material as Mel Brook's "Silent Movie", which was clearly a tribute. "The Artist" IS a silent movie, featuring a beautiful romance between George and Peppy, who got her break with an idea from George, something that would make her different from the other actresses: a beauty spot above the upper lip. A clever credit-billing montage depicts her consequent ascension to stardom until she finally dethrones George and makes a has-been out of him.If I mentioned the performance of Dujardin, Berenice Bejo also deserves some accolades because she succeeded in looking so "old" from our POV yet so fresh and modern in the film, with the appealing feel-good and optimistic attitude she constantly brings on screen. With her doll-face and youngish smile, she's like a cute little girl enjoying what she does. In a way, Peppy Miller embodies the film's most inspirational element: a positive message about passion and enjoyment. And this indirectly highlights George's source of troubles: being deprived from what he enjoyed the most and suffering from his progressive fading into oblivion. Along with this conflict, the evolution of George and Peppy's romance never feels forced, quite an accomplishment when we consider how slightly over-the-top silent movie stars used to act.Both Dujardin and Bejo are indeed powerful in an Oscar-worthy level and at that moment, I can't continue without mentioning the third character of the film, George's dog. The relationship between George and the dog provides a sort of Chaplinesque feel to the movie, a mix of tenderness and poignancy, so natural and convincing I wonder if the Academy will think of a honorary Oscar. Anyway, I applaud Hazanivicius for not having reduced "The Artist" to a flashy spectacle with no substance, with the word 'homage' as the director's convenient alibi, and make a touching romance about two people who met each other at a pivotal time in the history of film-making, each representing a side of cinema, the old-school silent generation: Chaplin, Keaton, Pickford and the exuberant talkers: Grant, Hepburn, Davis And I'm glad he found the true note to reconcile between these two universes at the end didn't I tell you Dujardin was the lost son of Gene Kelly?"The Artist" plays like a missing link between "Singin' in the Rain" and "Sunset Boulevard" and it's indeed one of the best films of 2011, with the absence of words as an endearing 'beauty spot'.
I managed to catch a screening of this at Cannes, and if you're thinking about skipping this film because it's silent and black and white, you're going to be missing out on a very special experience.Everything about this film is exceptional. The acting is top-notch, the story is intriguing, and despite being black and white, the film is visually appealing. The filmmakers really make great use of the medium, and even though there are no voices or color, my interest was never lost.Jean Dujardin gives a great performance. You like him instantly and, without giving too much away, you <more>
want him to succeed. This movie is really chock full of great actors and actresses. You'll see some familiar faces, but they all blend in well with the world of the film.I really don't know a whole lot about the director Michel Hazanavicius, but after seeing this film I'm definitely interested in seeing what he does next.Highly recommend!
Jean Dujardin deserved his Palme D'or for his captivating and wonderful performance. Where to start...this film is so clever, so beautifully crafted, so mesmerising. The lost art of the silent film is once again brought to life and that era is impressively recreated, whether it be the acting style, the sets, the locations shot in Hollywood , the shimmering black and white photography. It is obvious to see that the people behind L'artiste respected that era of film making and wanted to recreate the magic with some modern touches I won't spoil them and totally succeeded. I saw <more>
this in Cannes at an 8.30 am press screening and was totally entranced. I cannot wait to see it again!
A unabashed love letter to Hollywoodland (by nojunk13-193-11355)
This is a treat. Charismatic leads with chemistry and talent, in a love story that plays as a pitch perfect homage to vintage Hollywood features, whilst never tipping over into parody, and that's no mean feat. The period detail is outstanding: film stocks, tints, heck even the frame weave , captions and montage are all on the money. There's an evocative score, an imaginative use of silence, wonderful locations and costume. All rounded off by a top notch cast which includes a brilliant dog. Dujardin is every inch the charming 20's star and Bejo is sassy, surefooted and gorgeous. <more>
Go see this people. They do make 'em like they used to!
As colorful as any black and white film could ever be! (by estebangonzalez10)
¨Look at what you've become. You've become proud! You've become stupid! ¨The Artist is a beautiful film that pays homage to movies from the late 20's and early 30's, the silent film era. In order to do so, French director Michel Hazanavicius decided to make this film almost entirely without sound and in black and white. Many producers would've probably thought he was crazy for trying to make a film like this in these days where viewers are used to seeing spectacular and colorful movies with great sound and even in 3D. However, The Artist works perfectly and is one of <more>
the brightest films of the year despite being in black and white. The cinematography is spectacular perhaps only rivaled this year by The Tree of Life and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy , the costume design and editing are among the best of the year, and the score is also amazing. This is truly a beautiful film that many film historians will enjoy for the nice tribute it renders to the age of silent films. Many famous actors during this era weren't able to make the transition to the talkies, and that is exactly what The Artist is about, and it does it in a very simplistic but stylized fashion. The film has been nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Performance by a Lead Actor Jean Dujardin and a Supporting Actress Berenice Bejo . It will probably walk away with the Best Picture title considering how appealing the subject matter is to the Academy, and how well the film was crafted. Please don't be scared off because the movie is silent or in black and white because the story is really entertaining and despite being colorless it is brighter than any other film released this year. It is really worth a watch; you won't regret it.The year is 1927 and George Valentin Jean Dujardin is at the height of his artistic career. He is a very successful Hollywood actor and producer Al Zimmer John Goodman is very pleased with his work. After having succeeded together yet again in a recent film, they are already collaborating for their next project. During rehearsals for their next movie, George runs into an extra named Peppy Miller Berenice Bejo . They hit it off instantly sharing a dance number and George insists that Peppy should get the part. Pepper falls in love immediately with George, but he is married to Doris Penelope Ann Miller so their relationship is entirely professional. George gives Peppy the best advice she would ever receive: In order to make it in the industry she needs to be different and he paints a spot near her lip. This will be her trademark later on as she slowly begins rising to the spotlight during the arrival of the talkies. Valentin however, isn't lucky and realizes his days as a successful actor are coming to an end with the advent of these talking pictures. People want to see new faces and hear their voices. Al Zimmer realizes this and breaks relations with George, so Valentin decides to produce, direct, and star in his own silent film. The movie is a failure as people want to see these new talkies, and as Valentin's fame becomes to decline, Peppy Miller begins to grow into a superstar. Valentin is left with nothing except his faithful driver, Clifton James Cromwell and his Jack Russell Terrier named Jack. The times have changed for the great artists and fortunes are reversed.The Artist is among my top ten favorite films of the year and it works really well, not only as homage to these silent films, but as a love story as well. Along with Midnight in Paris, these are perhaps the two best romantic movies of the year and would make for an excellent date. I've already mentioned some of the technical aspects, but now I would like to praise the performances from Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, and the dog which was played in most part by Uggie . I can't leave out the dog, because he plays an important role in this film, and in a way is Valentin's faithful companion and savior. Jean Dujardin does deserve the Oscar nomination for his performance, he was terrific, and I think I enjoyed it over George Clooney's. If he wins, it will be well deserved. My favorite performance of the film however, comes from Berenice Bejo, who was also nominated as a supporting actress. She is just terrific and shines every time she's on screen. Her performance gives this black and white movie a lot of color. Both Bejo and Dujardin have worked together with director Hazanavicius in the past in the French spy spoof film OSS 117. I've never seen the movie, nor its sequel, but after seeing The Artist I'm very much interested in doing so. Overall this is a terrific film and one you won't want to miss.http://estebueno10.blogspot.com
A very good film but I wish it hadn't received so much praise. (by MartinHafer)
"The Artist" is a great example of a very good film that was over-hyped by critics. Again and again, I heard how the film was a prime Oscar-contender. So, as a result, I had EXTREMELY high hopes--too high, actually. If I'd heard nothing about the film, I would have left the theater VERY satisfied.Oddly, this film is the second homage to silent films that's been released in the last few months. "HUGO" was simply brilliant and my hope is that it gets the Best Picture nod and "The Artist" is fortunately very good but quite different in style. It is, aside <more>
from one song with lyrics and the end of the film, silent with only some incidental music and occasional sound effects. It's a reworking of the myth about TONS of silent stars losing their careers because of their inability to adapt to talking pictures popularized by the film "Singing in the Rain" . I say 'myth' because actually very few major actors really lost their careers due to the coming of talking pictures. Two frequent examples often cited, Clara Bow and John Gilbert, really weren't lost in talkies completely because of their voices. Sure, Bow had a thick New York accent--but her odd-screen antics she was the Lindsay Lohan of her day and fragile mental health really did a lot more to push her out of films. But Gilbert did some amazingly good talkies and his losing his career had a lot more to do with Louis B. Mayer hating him--as well as Gilbert's heavy drinking--and nothing to do with his fine voice. But,...back to the story.Jean Dujardin plays a huge silent film star--one very similar to Douglas Fairbanks. Along the way, he helps an aspiring actress Bérénice Bejo and soon she, too, becomes a star. However, when talking pictures come, she becomes a mega-star and Dujardin becomes a has-been. The plot is quite a bit like a reworking of "A Star is Born"--and is clever enough and new enough not to be repetitive. However, to me, the star of the film was actually Uggie--the wonderful dog actually three different ones according to IMDb who co-starred in Dujardin's silent films.So why am I only giving the film a very respectable 8 when critics are going crazy talking about it? Well, the story is originally but it's also VERY simple. It is also, unfortunately, a tad predictable...though quite satisfying as well. Not a bad film--in fact, a very good one--with nice cinematography and music as well. But probably not among the very best films of the year.FYI--Dujardin and Bejo have played together before--such as in the very funny James Bond-type comedy "OSS 117"--which is also very well worth seeing.
Interesting, mild fun but overrated (by demented_peruvian)
"The Artist" unfortunately cannot be reviewed at this moment in time without being aware of the hype manufactured by the Weinstein brothers - the producers of good-but-not-great movies that muscle their way into all of the award races. Unfortunately, as is usually the case with the Weinstein movies, it falls short of expectations.On its own, "The Artist" is a fun experiment: let's shoot a silent black and white film, using many of the mechanisms of that film era, from cinematography to screenplay. In particular it imitates that romantic films of the time, as opposed to <more>
the more influential satires and fantasy/horror films. It goes as far as incorporating a variation on "Lassie". The actors are charming and there are some interesting metaphorical shots. It is clever at times, amusing and funny at turns, cheesy at others, mildly suspenseful towards the end, but consistent in its style, and it delivers on the romance. The few moments of sound provide such a contrast to the world of silent film are we in a self-aware movie? that they become the most memorable and admirable parts of the film.However, it is so light that it would make Clara Bowen's "It" seem as heavy as "Intolerance". It is intentionally clichéd, but does not do anything with its references; we are expected to accept them as if we were a 1928 audience. We must accept the on screen relationships as such, and the characters do not escape beyond the 2-dimensional. There is little advantage taken of modern technology to develop more elaborate scenes."The Artist" succeeds as a moderately fun recreation of 1920s and early 1930s cinema. However, the experiment perhaps would have been more interesting had the silent treatment been given to a modern story or to a deeper screenplay.
Greetings again from the darkness. Remember the last silent film that received this much adoration, acclaim and publicity? Of course you don't. It was 1927 and Clara Bow starred in "Wings", the most recent silent film to be nominated for Best Picture it won . My guess is, that streak is about to end thanks to French writer/director Michel Hazanavicius.No doubt many will avoid this one since it is a Black & White silent film. What a mistake that would be. It offers a wonderfully entertaining and captivating story, and two outstanding and expressive lead performances. Jean <more>
Dujardin is remarkable as George Valentin, one of the biggest movie stars in 1927 when this story begins . It's around this time when the "talkies" begin taking over. Valentin is a very likable character, but foolishly believes talking movies are a fad and his fans will remain loyal to him and his traditional silent films. Not only do talkies take off, but the Great Depression also hits. Valentin finds himself out of work and broke.The most fun in the film occurs when Valentin and Peppy Miller Berenice Bejo are together. Their characters have a chance meeting and there is an instant spark. Valentin gets her the first break of her career and before long, she is on the rise as fast as he free falls. Only Valentin's dog and driver James Cromwell remain loyal to him during the tough times, but Peppy refuses to let the bond die.It's impossible to watch this film and not notice the influence of "Singin' in the Rain" and "Sunset Blvd". Also, Dujardin's Valentin looks to be a cross between Douglas Fairbanks and Gene Kelly, replete with the electric matinée idol smile. Both Dujrardin and Ms. Bejo who is the director's real life girlfriend have the elastic face and bright eyes necessary for silent film stardom. They really allow us as viewers to forget the silence and enjoy the characters.This is a fully realized story with excellent character development. You might wonder how this is possible with no dialogue, but that's why this is a must see film garnering an abundance of critical acclaim. It's very easy to access and is purely entertaining ... with both moments of happiness and sadness. It has everything a really good movie should have ... just with fewer lines of dialogue!