The Artist (2011) – Review

3 1/2 Stars


The Artist is largely a silent movie in living black and white with all the looks of a 1920s silent motion picture. Silent screen legend George Valentin (Jean Jujardin) is confronted with a new medium, talking pictures. Unfortunately, Valentin rejects the new trend and watches the world pass him by. A younger actress, Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo), takes over the limelight while Valentin is relegated to the cutting room floor.

This is an excellent movie on many levels. The story is engrossing, the period sets exemplify the silent movie era, and the camera work is able to mimic the style of old Hollywood while yet remaining fresh. What struck me while watching this film were two things: body language and music. Without words, actors must convey emotion and dialogue through facial expressions and body movement. This is an art relegated to secondary status with the advent of talking pictures. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but in motion pictures a gesture or a frown is worth much more.

Secondly, the music is fantastic. No doubt during the silent era a composer’s job was as important as the actors on screen. The music created the mood of the scene for the audience identify what the actor’s were feeling or mouthing on screen.

I enjoyed this film partly because of its novelty. The last silent films made to my recollection were Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie (1976) and my parents’ film of my 4th year birthday party. Also, this film has a strong story about people, life, and the inevitability of change.

Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Stars: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman

Author Mike Chisholm is a featured writer for Moviemavericks and the founder/head writer for U.S.HistoryReport.com.

One thought on “The Artist (2011) – Review

  1. Not really my cup of tea. It certainly wasn’t a bad movie, but I find that movies that win these big awards just don’t do it for me. I watched this and Hugo in the same weekend and neither one was really up my alley. The fiance, however, loved them both.

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