The Artist

The Artist, or as I like to call it “The Last Movie I Have To See To Have Seen All Nine Nominations For Best Picture At The Last Academy Awards”, is as we all know a “silent film”.

Made in Black and White, mostly only with background music (except for a few scenes), and title cards that come up with some dialogue.

What I am really trying to say is this is a movie you can’t watch half assed. Gotta get off you laptop (unless you are watching it on you laptop), and you games and your whatever else, and pay attention.

This movie doesn’t come dubbed, because that doesn’t make sense.

Aw a puppy!
But hey look, a puppy!

George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is a famous silent film actor in the late 1920s, kicking all sorts of silent ass. Some random girl, Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) bumps into him at a film premier, and George jokes around and shows her to the camera, causing the media to “freak out” wondering who the mysterious girl was! Turns out she was a dancer, who wanted to be an actress. Heck, she was even auditioning for a movie that next day with George.

Well George, strangely fascinated, he wants to get her in that film work. He demands the director Al Zimmer (John Goodman) to give her a spot, and the rest is history. Eventually. She starts as a small role, but gets more and more famous, they even start spelling her name right. Heck, she even gets main roles.

And then the “talkie” movie revolution begins. George insists it is a fad, and doesn’t want to do it. But hey, Peppy is like fuck yes. All on that shit. George has nightmares about the talking films, even having dreams where all the appliances starts making noises and he can’t talk at all! Oh noes! So George makes and finances his own Silent film, but for whatever reason he has it on the same day as the premier of Peppy’s first talking movie. Seems dumb. Especially since that day also featured a 1929 Stock Market crash.

Now that George is ruined, financially and more, what does he have left but to fire his driver Chifton (James Cromwell), be sad, and mope through life. But hey, at least he has a puppy.

JG, JG
Also did I mention John Goodman?

A potentially touching tale about an actor on the decline from Silent to Talking films, while someone he get started rises to fame in the exact same environment. How can their cases be reconciled, and can they ever find love?

I like the general synopsis, but what I don’t understand is the reasoning behind making it a “silent” film. I use quotation marks, because well, it was a modern version of a movie trying to represent the 20s of film, by having a movie also set in the 20s. Obviously it isn’t identical to one of those films, that’d be hard, but when I think about this movie and the 1920s, I didn’t see really much that the 1920’s couldn’t have done to make this exact idea then instead of now.

And that bugged me. According to Singing In The Rain, people in silent films aren’t even real actors. They just have to make facial expressions (versus theater actors at the time), and then people are praised in the film for acting, at their ability to make facial expressions? Hmm.

I was also disappointed that a recreation of silent film in the modern era had its story take place…during the silent film era. I’d be more excited to see a silent film set in the year 2012 or whatever, and see how that is done. That is something new and fad worthy that I’d probably enjoy a lot more. But instead we got someone making a movie using modern technology, to accomplish something doable 90 years ago. I’m not about to give my money to every person who figures out how to start a fire with a lighter in hand.

I honestly think this film is overhyped entirely on the style of the movie (A lot like Avatar) and not on the fantastic acting or story, which is overall just okay in my book. But hey, won’t penalize it for overhype.

2 out of 4.

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