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|Index||582 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Now this is a masterpiece. Surprising to say since its a modern black
and white movie without sound. Most modern movie audiences would be put
off by movies like this but what makes this work is the simplicity in
its story and how it pays homage to the nearly forgotten film style of
silent filmmaking. This is more or less love letter to hardcore fans of
cinema and serves as a reminder to why we watch movies in the first
The story is the simple but classic story of out with the old and in with the new. Its the late 1920s and the era of silent films comes to a close with the advent new style of film called the "Talkie" and a silent movie star faces the end of his career when he cant adapt to the new form of art.
French actor Jean Dujardin gives a fantastic performance without speaking a single word. Most acting nowadays doesn't involve emoting but Jean proves that acting can still be powerful without talking. His co star Berenice Bejo does just as great, not to mention shes beautiful as Peppy Miller who becomes a talkie movie star.
The camera-work is fantastic old school and really looks like that it was filmed in the 1920s. The set design, costumes and cars all feel authentic to the time period making this a period piece. The music is just great and very emotional at times just matching the feel of every scene.
I highly recommend this film to anybody who loves cinema. Just go into this with an open mind and don't be discouraged because its silent and black and white. Id say that this film is worthy of owning but thats me. 10 out of 10 stars
Since The Artist came out on DVD (and Blu-Ray) this Tuesday, I'm going
to give you my review for this wonderful movie right now.
When I first heard about The Artist, I had a feeling that this will be a movie experience unlike any other: A black-and-white silent film. Now, a lot of people might not know this, but the last black-and-white silent film was Charlie Chaplin's 1936 movie, Modern Times. Then, after that, the black-and-white silent film genre decided to take an extremely long break right until today, where it had made its return with The Artist.
STORY: The Artist takes place from 1927-1931 where a famous silent movie actor, George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), who accidentally bumps into Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) while at a premiere for one of his films. Soon, they become attracted to each other. When their romance progresses, Valentin's world turns upside down when the movie industry introduces the talking pictures.
MY THOUGHTS: Like Hugo - which is another movie from 2011 that I adored - The Artist pays homage to cinema, but this movie is different compared to Hugo. Hugo talks about the beginning of cinema while The Artist talks about silent cinema being replaced by the talking pictures.
The direction by Michel Hazanavicious was fantastic, and this movie looks downright gorgeous in black and white. Black and white movies can have a more deeper emotion than some movies that are in color.
The music score by Ludovic Bource was is terrific, and it really fits the mood for this type of movie. The style for this movie is wicked clever: A modern-day movie taking the style of an old-fashioned black and white silent film from the early 1900s. This is one of the most entertaining movies that I had ever seen in theaters, and this is a movie theater experience that I'll never forget.
THE ACTING: Jean Dujardin really deserved his Best Actor win for his outstanding work as George Valentin. Bérénice Bejo could have won Best Supporting Actress for her terrific performance as Peppy Miller.
The Artist also has a terrific supporting cast. You got John Goodman as Al Zimmer, who is the boss of the Kinograph Studios. James Cromwell who a lot of you people might know him from Babe he's also in this movie playing Clifton, Valentin's servant when Valentin moves into an apartment after getting kick out of his house. The dog; he was such a joy to watch him on screen.
IN CONCLUSION: The Artist is easily one of the very best films from last year. It was smart, clever, extremely well-acted, and very entertaining from beginning to end. Every movie buff needs to pick this up on DVD or Blu-Ray; it's such a fantastic movie!
With 3-D movies becoming so ubiquitous, the magic of cinema is wearing
off as more and more humdrum flicks are poured at us from every box
office orifice. Previously, CGI perfection and action sequence bombasts
became formulaic and jaw-achingly dull for the average cinema goer.
Thankfully a wonderful piece of film making has emerged in the form of
The Artist. This is modern cinematography stripped bare of all whistles
and bells: no 3-D, no CGI, no colour, barely any spoken dialogue, not
even filmed in wide-screen. This, far from holding back any enjoyment
of the theatregoer's experience, rekindles their long lost passion for
cinema in its pure form. Indeed, the film is set in Hollywood(land) of
the 1920s and 1930s, straddling the last major technological milestone
in cinema since the digital revolution: the advent of talking pictures.
Every player in The Artist is, necessarily in a film with almost no talking, visually arresting. Jean Dujardin cuts a suave dash as George Valentin, a huge silent star unwanted in a new era of vocal acting. With landscaped chin, lacquered hair and moustache clipped to an eyebrow pencil line, Dujardin's face and physicality fascinates throughout the film's 100 minutes. His acting is comic without being farcical; tragic without being hysterical. His co-star, budding blossom Peppy Miller, played by an engaging Bérénice Bejo, remains charming, demure and level-headed even when achieving the heights of talkie fame. She never forgets the role of Valentin in her success and watches, while trying to attenuate, his private demise as he witnesses her very public ascension to super-stardom. Bejo does this with an unbent sensitivity, her engaging mouth filling the screen with her smile or quivering with unfettered sadness at the man left behind.
The supporting actors, although less physical, all have faces full of depth and character. Even a flash appearance from Malcolm McDowell as a jobbing extra delivers a comic vignette full of facial subtlety and wrinkled brilliance.
The director, Michel Hazanavicius, cannons a well aimed, pared down shot straight to the emotional core, uncluttered with dialogue. The depth of the monochrome montage screams sophistication and the soundtrack swells and dips with the action on screen. Hazanavicius brilliantly portrays an enormous sense of fun and excitement from the start with clever editing and use of movement to compensate for the lack of Foley sound or speech, which is never a disadvantage in this film. This makes almost every moment edge-of-seat tense which does lose fervour in the middle, possibly in order for the audience to catch breath before being shot at again during the dramatic ending. The director himself has been quoted as saying that he has used the silent format not as an homage to bygone days but a storytelling tool. He does just that, making an amazingly refreshing new film and helping audiences of all ages to rediscover the raw and beautiful art of cinema at its purest.
You know you've seen a masterpiece when you walk out of a film and shed
tears of joy or felt something stir within your soul. This is just the
show which will make you glad that someone has the passion to make a
black & white silent film and share it with the world.
I was thoroughly blown away by the leads and practically everyone else in the film who has managed to convey their feelings, humor, anguish, anger etc just with their facial expressions. In modern times where movies are heading towards high definition IMAX, CGI and what not, a black and white seems like a step back, much less a silent one. But this film is definitely worth your time if you're a fan of classics. Easy to comprehend and very enjoyable to watch. It's no wonder this film is so highly lauded and expected to achieve more at the golden globes and Oscars.
I just wonder if more films like this that seem to have moments of magic will continue to be produced.
If you like something that's different in more ways than one for the
holidays, where the movie has real plot and character development, and
not standard cartoonish violence as in many of this season's holiday
movies, then run, don't walk, to see "The Artist." The movie is headed
by two international stars who should become well-known to American
audiences - French actor Jean Dujardin as the hero George Valentin, and
Argentinian actress Berenice Bejo as the ingenue Peppy Miller, along
with the familiar faces of John Goodman as his usual cheerful self in
the role of the egomaniacal studio head Al Zimmer, Penelope Ann Miller
as Valentin's troubled wife, Doris, and James Cromwell as Valentin's
The message of "The Artist" is all about changes in our culture. Also, this movie, while maintaining its originality, pays homage to two of the greatest Hollywood movies ever made, "Singin' in the Rain," where Debbie Reynold's regular voice fit best for talkies as Jean Hagen's itty-bitty voice didn't, and fell for her co-star, Gene Kelly, and the storyline of "A Star is Born," where the heroine's celebrity rises and the hero's celebrity falls. For those who really think that "they don't make movies like the used to," then you see everything in "The Artist." It is much more than an all black and white silent movie. It is a tribute that makes the viewer think, feel, and yet enjoy its magical movie-making. It is funny, sometimes disturbing, intellectual, and the viewer leaves with good feeling and emotion. And that's what a great movie is all about.
The storyline goes that George Valentin is a hot 1920s silent movie hero who meets dancer Peppy Miller. He puts the beauty mark on her and then she is a star ingenue. However, Al Zimmer realistically announces to George that the movies are forever changing to sound, which is true in our culture, and George feels disheartened over his silent film celebrity status. Even more disheartening when Peppy's sound movie is a fit, George's last silent movie is a flop, and George's actress wife, Doris, deserts him. George moves into a small apartment with Clifton, and his Jack Russell Terrier, and still more desolation ensues. George drinks uncontrollably, attempts suicide twice, and the only people to save him are his smart and loyal dog who knows more danger signals than humans, and Peppy, who loves George unconditionally. The predictable but exhilarating ending is a real gem that not only makes the viewer feeling good, but thinking what will come next for years to come. And finally, George is back in form in the next status, which Peppy adapted to right away.
The last silent movie tribute was, well, Mel Brooks' "Silent Movie" back in 1976. Sorry, but audiences these days seem to be more interested in a thoughtful tribute than a mindless but still always hilarious and timeless parody by our spoofmeister Brooks. Thirty-five years later, we get the real treat for what the silents are all about. Call it artsy and all black and white, but "The Artist" is a thought-provoker that I would like to see nominated for Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor Dujardin, and Best Actress Bejo. I'm not the best at handicapping Oscars, but it looks so far that this movie may win for all its artistic merits.
No one can silence me on expressing my jubilant emotion on the silent masterpiece modern movie "The Artist". It is pure artistry. So therefore, I have to voice that to me it is the best movie of 2011; and I am not the only who has been vociferous with that sentiment. "The Artist" stars a brilliant Jean Dujardin as silent movie star George Valentin. During the silent movie era of Hollywood, everyday was Valentine's Day for Valentin as he was admired & loved as that era's supreme movie star. Valentin was confident, charismatic, determined, and pretty much a pure silent showman. However, it was all the future talk that ended up ruining Valentin's career. When the silent movie days of Hollywood dwindled, and the talkies became the talk of Tinseltown, Valentin became a movie face of the past. After Valentin gets booted by the movie studio he was under contract with for many years, he decides to keep the silence alive by developing a silent film which he produces, directs, and stars in. When that experiment bombed, all kept spiraling downwards for poor Silent George; he loses his house, his wife, his fame, and even to a certain extent his legacy. At the same time- Peppy Miller, an aspiring actress which George had given her first break by briefly appearing in one of his last silent movies, becomes a megastar in the new Hollywood talkies. I guess one can say that her Peppy Talk was the talk of Hollywood. George and Peppy's careers go through opposite pathways, even though Peppy continues to admire George even throughout all his trials & tribulations. The epitome of man's best friend has to be George's cerebral dog who is not only George's pooch confidant but eventually his savior. Director Michel Hazanivicius' orchestration of "The Artist' is one for the ages and for all ages. He is able to formulate a wondrous silent movie in modern times and to make it as magnetic and enticing as it is was simply movie magic. It is the best direction of the year and it will be very hazardous if Hazanivicius does not garner a Best Director Oscar. Moreover, the vicious Hazanivicius also pulls of another cinematic impossible- scribing a spectacular and lively screenplay to a modern silent film; translation= Another Oscar. There is a lot to love about Dujardin's expressive starring performance as Valentin. Dujardin is definitely due a Best Actor Oscar nomination. Berenice Bejo was very nice with her stellar work as Peppy Miller, there is no doubt that Bejo won't be to lejo of the Kodak Theatre come Oscar time; she is a shoe-in for a Best Supporting Actress nomination. "The Artist" also got more support from the great "silent but medley" performances of John Goodman as the studio mogul, James Cromwell as George's chauffeur, and Penelope Ann Miller as Mrs. Valentin. Another guiding force in "The Artist" was the grand musical score of the flick orchestrated by Ludovic Bource. The Bource Musical Identity was of Bource Supremacy and the sound of this music should rejoice in the Oscar mountaintops with an Academy Award for Best Movie Score. Many have called "The Artist" a love letter to "old school" Hollywood. And yes I do concur with that analysis, but the new school of Hollywood should reward "The Artist" as the movie valedictorian of the year 2011. So go ahead and . enjoy the silence! ***** Excellent
What could've derailed into a drab and dry spectacle, perfectly
executes everything it tries to accomplish in a serious and fun way.
The Artist is an amazing homage to the classic silent films from the
twenties and thirties, respectively. They are some of the simplest
films, but pack so much in their context it's easy to miss a few beats.
The idea of silent cinema is sketchy in 2011, but thankfully, The Artist never tries to present itself as a tongue in cheek parody or a goofy tribute. It is serious in its presentation and wants nothing more than to show that captivating cinema still exists and can work work wonders if done properly. Maybe it's because I have shot two silent films in the last year and am sympathetic to all the effort it takes to actually create one.
The silent films I shot were for a Television class I took last year. They are nothing special and are pretty cheaply made. I loosely based it off a situation that really happened to my friend and I, and added a nice KISS song and threw in a few plot twists. It wasn't in black and white, and the editing wasn't this tight. I am open to the idea of more now that I have been schooled watching The Artist.
Being that Jean Dujardin is a gifted physical actor and his appearance mirrors a real-life actor from the silent era only adds to the many reasons why The Artist succeeds on so many levels. He plays George Valentin, a silent film actor who has starred in many films over the course of the twenties with his scene stealing Jack Russell Terrier. Sadly, it's now 1927 and the silent film studios are suffering because a new fad of films that include sound, called Talkies, are the big thing.
One day when George is being swarmed by the paparazzi, a woman gets pushed into him by accident. Instead of acting infuriated, which I can see many celebrities being now, he embraces the abrupt entry of the woman and poses for several pictures with her. The woman is then discovered to be Peppy Miller, played by the engaging and utterly beautiful Bérénice Bejo. George is so wooed by Miller's attitude and beauty that he auditions her for a role in his new film. After that, Peppy becomes more and more famous through roles of all different sizes in Talkies.
Keep in mind, all this action, excitement, and suspense is captured through black and white film, many musical numbers, and a lens not in the typical widescreen format. Though the film is so engaging, I did not forget its silent nature but I do believe it is possible to forget the film lacks in dialog. Some very impressed moviegoers will be lost in the film's story and might be in for a rude awakening before the credits roll.
The Artist is an enriching and delightful movie experience. Some will grow tired of the aspect but I can see many embracing it and craving more. The film has enough well-delivered action to not be called "one note," and enough clever plot points to prevent the word "monotony" from coming in. It's subtle in its presence but massively entertaining in its delivery.
Starring: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, and John Goodman. Directed by: Michel Hazanavicius.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The cessation of silent films, Leslie Wood acknowledged in her book
"Romance of the Movies," is a tragedy which "will probably not last."
Thus sounded her prediction in 1935; by that time, five years had
passed since silent films were declared prehistoric, but Wood was still
bold enough to estimate its possibilities of a comeback as probable.
Sadly, in this case being bold was being far too bold. Although there
has emerged certain film-makers since that time confident (and
powerful) enough to make films visibly influenced by the silents, such
as Jacques Tati, 'silent films' has remained a term to define a bygone
era. I suppose Michel Hazanavicius' THE ARTIST came as a slight
surprise to most of us, then; even more unexpected was its commercial
success. But the one thing that truly astounded me was how the film
managed to give me that same explicit, unexplainable "feeling" which my
favorite authentic silents do; witty in some places and dark in others,
THE ARTIST reminded me of just why I love silent films so much.
The story is quite easy to summarize. George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is one of motion- pictures' hottest attractions, handsome and irresistibly charming in high-budget adventure films of the day (obvious Douglas Fairbanks-association here). However, his success seems doomed after the arrival of "talkies" towards the end of the 1920's, combined with the outburst of the Great Depression. As his own popularity fades, a young actress whom he once helped rises to superstardom; Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) is declared the new "sweetheart" of the movies, as she fondly embraces the new aspect of the medium (her charm brings Clara Bow to mind). However, she has not forgotten how Valentin once helped her; and there, in essence, is your story. The relationship between John Gilbert and Greta Garbo is an inevitable association; Gilbert had enjoyed a phenomenal career as a leading actor during the late silent era, but vanished from the screen after it turned out that his voice did not match his image (or so, at least, the official story goes). Garbo made him do a comeback, albeit with limited results.
Some reviewers of THE ARTIST have objected to the apparent simplicity of its plot, claiming that the sole reason for its success has to do with its status as a novelty. This claim, I think, misses the whole point; yes, the story of a fading celebrity is very basic, and hardly new (Chaplin's film LIMELIGHT comes to mind, as well as Hjalmar Bergman's 1930's novel "Jac the Clown"). But THE ARTIST would never have achieved such success as it has only due to an aspect of freshness; a less clever director could easily have ended up doing a parody on the medium, and thus provided more nutrition to the myth that silent films merely consist of funny-lookin' jabbernowls running at an impossibly high speed-rate. Despite some meta-references to the medium of silent films throughout (a title card saying "BANG!" being one example), director Hazanavicius has not made a parody, but a beautiful film which made me laugh in some parts, and so teary-eyed in others I almost felt pathetic. By using a relatively simple story as its foundation, Hazanavicius demonstrates that 'silent films,' contrary to common belief, is an art form that deserves to be evaluated on its own terms, rather than being viewed as a primitive fore-runner to talking pictures. For if the depth is not so dominant within the story, it is certainly present in the visual narrative; every shot, angle and gesture is significant, and both the witty comedies of King Vidor (THE PATSY and SHOW PEOPLE, both 1928) and the expressionistic work of F.W. Murnau frequently come to mind. The performers are of equal importance, of course, and both Dujardin and Bejo are phenomenal, sensitive and extremely charismatic at the same time. A special mention should also go to Valentin's dog; both Rin-Tin-Tin and Roscoe Arbuckle's Luke the Dog would have bowed in respect.
One final question worth asking, perhaps, is whether Leslie Wood's prediction, that silent films are likely to reappear on a regular basis again, will come true after the success of THE ARTIST? Probably not. But at the very least, I do hope the film will encourage more people to seek out the very best silent films. If you cared for THE ARTIST, I see no reason why you would not appreciate films such as THE BIG PARADE (1925), SUNRISE: A LOVE STORY (1927) or THE CROWD (1928). By the mid-1920's, the best of film actors and directors had, once and for all, begun to trust the intelligence of viewers; understatement had become the trend in pantomime, whereas directors less relied on title- cards, instead more often conveying depth and subtle nuances through purely visual expression. Much of this was sadly lost again when talkies arrived, as all too many film- makers then adopted a use of dialogue reminiscent of the exaggerated frequency of title- cards in the early silent days. Of course, thanks to CITIZEN KANE and a handful of other films, visual experimentation was eventually re-discovered, but THE ARTIST still reminds us that while talkies may have lots of advantages, the decline of silent films was indeed a very sorry thing.
After waiting for about 2 months since I first watched the trailer and
more than 5 since I first heard about it, I finally managed to watch
"The Artist". Between then and the night before last, I've grown
accustomed to hearing only the superlatives and most glorious
adjectives in reference to the movie. Although none from my close
friends, I am referring to my favourite pastimes like Facebook,
Twitter, American Cinematography Magazine, Total Film, Time Magazine to
just name a few. Apart from setting unimaginable expectations in the
sub conscious, it did generate a sense of delirious excitement in me,
while I sat down for the experience. Here's what I think, how it fared.
The Artist is an accomplished piece of work that should / would appeal to a wide spectrum of cine goers across the world. But "a lump in the throat" is reserved for the absolute fanatic of the craft. In my books, I consider myself a member of such a make belief club. Before I indulge in the sparkles and the fireworks, the movie managed to create while watching it and right after, let me get into some of the facts.This is as much as some may hate to accept, is a French production shot on location in Los Angeles and includes various craftsmen from both French cinema and Hollywood. But in true heart and soul this is an American story of the industry that sells dreams and most successfully so.There have been many stories about it in the past and so will be in future; that may have or will manage to tell it successfully and some not so much. The Artist, I perceive will have a special place amongst them all, a first among equals if You'd like. At a time, where the advent and renaissance of "Social Media" has brought fans of cinema and the ones who don the grease paints to unbelievable and sometimes unacceptable proximities, the process has inadvertently led to considerable degeneration of the mist that surrounds them and their lives outside the spot light, between "cut" and "action". And at such times, "The Artist" is a breath of fresh air and works as a reminiscent of what movies right after its conception, stood for. A celebration of one such art form, from one such factory that has outlived itself in many ways in the past millennium. he story itself is about an indispensable act of nature, "change" and how it affects the one's who take success and in this case fame and admiration for permanency or as some would call it, granted. In life as much as in the world of glamour, nothing is constant. The protagonist's fights with his inner demons about accepting change is projected in the simplest of manners which is why it works. Research of how it worked in the 1920′s and technical excellence in achieving the feel of those times more than the costume, make up and body language which we have come to expect of movies these days, makes it a product par excellence. The fact that the makers shot it at 22 fps as opposed to the standard 24 fps, helped them achieve what they did and is a serious case in point. Although its USP, "a silent film" will manage to draw the crowds and more so with all the nominations it has been getting, what would make them savour the experience is, how good it is, at it. Michel Hazanavicius who held this dream / passion project close to his heart for long before it came true chose his confidants for the lead roles, Jean Dujardin & Berenice Bejo (who also happens to be his better half). They have achieved major success in the OSS 117 series in France before this. Along with that some very familiar faces that constitutes the important players list includes the likes of John Goodman & James Cromwell who by the way pull off excellent character roles pivotal to the story line. Special mention to Uggy the Dog, who by the way has his own IMDb page now. But by and large Jean Dujardin with his impeccable sense of timing besides an affable charm, the original score produced by Lodovic Bource and performed by Brussels Philharmonic and most of all, Michel Hazanavicius who did not have to depend only on intertiles to tell a silent story, should be held high, very high in respect to what they have given us, the fans. Come February 26th, people who watch movies and follow them for what it is worth, will wait to see if "The Artist" stakes claims at the 10 Oscar categories it has been nominated for (including BEST Picture). My only concern is, people should not give it a miss if it does not get some of them "Gold Statuettes" in the bag because for once, let's not make The Academy the yardstick of its excellence and achievements. Martin Scorsese for all I care should have earned it long before for far better works than "The Departed", for which he did. Lets for once, stand up and applaud "The Artist" wherever You are, until it deafens the ears that have grown accustomed to appreciation of the mediocre, because this one is not it. It is quiet truly and literally if I may, in a league of its own.
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I don't know if "The Artist" is the best movie of 2011 but it is
certainly the most charming, original and unexpected. To make in 2011,
in the age of the breathtaking and jaw-dropping video possibilities,
sound techniques and rapidly becoming the common place 3D, the
authentically looking and feeling black and white SILENT movie just
like they made them back in 1927, takes guts, talent, and deep and
tender love and admiration for above mentioned movies. It takes the
director/writer who not only had a dream of bringing the long gone era
of cinema's adolescence on big screen but made his dream come true. It
takes two basically unknown to the American audiences French actors who
were splendid as the stars of the silent pictures in the silent picture
(Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo). They were helped by John Goodman,
James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller, Missi Pyle, and Malcolm McDowell).
Let's not forget one special four-legged artist (or there were three of
them?) - the cutest, smartest, and most loyal dog that ever graced the
I wanted to see the film since I first read about and I expected to like it but I did not expect it to be not only technically perfect and very funny but also melodramatic in the best, sadly almost lost now, meaning of the word. I expected more lighthearted comedy but it is more tragic comedy. It is easy to overdo the melodrama but it never happened with The Artist. It is beautiful, romantic, funny, and spectacular. Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo are the best silent era couple on screen since well.. the end of the silent movies era.
As I am writing, "The Artist" is one of the major contenders for the Best Picture of the year Oscar having received already the awards from many prestigious organizations and made the countless critics lists. Ironically, in the case of "The Artist" to be noticed and heard meant to go completely silent. Is it not miraculous? Another observation - language of cinema is truly international: one of the sweetest love letters to the Hollywood's early years is created by a European director, French Michel Hazanavicius. His film speaks the native film language that involves the images, gestures, eyes, faces, and most importantly - the soul to perfection. It speaks clearly and loudly to movie lovers everywhere. "The Artist" is artistique, fantastique, magnifique, et très charmant.
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