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The Artist
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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The sweet sound of silence

8/10
Author: hall895 from New Jersey
21 April 2013

Kudos to director Michel Hazanavicius. He had the audacious idea to make a black-and-white silent film more than eighty years after movies had begun to talk. And then he executed that idea brilliantly. The film had the potential to be a cheap, if interesting gimmick. It proved to be so much more than that. It proved to be a great film. The fact it was so unique only added to its allure. Helped by a terrific cast Hazanavicius produced true movie magic.

There are so many ingenious things about The Artist but the smartest thing the film has going for it is its subject matter. It's a silent film about silent films. And that opens up so many delicious possibilities. The film's star, Jean Dujardin in a truly mesmerizing performance, is playing silent film star George Valentin. Valentin is on top of his game and on top of the world. The biggest star of his era, adored by legions of fans. One of his biggest fans is a young woman, Peppy Miller, who audaciously sneaks in a kiss with him outside the premiere of Valentin's latest smash hit. Little do either of them know then that they are two ships passing in the night. The silent movie era is about to end. George Valentin is on the way to ruin. Peppy Miller is on the way to stardom.

Peppy starts out as an anonymous extra on one of Valentin's films. From there her star slowly rises. Meanwhile his star burns out completely. The world forgets George Valentin. But Peppy does not. She remembers that man she once so admired. They had but a brief connection but it meant the world to a young woman just getting her start in the business. If anyone can save George Valentin it is Peppy. With a little help from George's wonderfully cute four-legged friend Jack the dog.

All of this is told so wonderfully and, to modern eyes and ears, so uniquely. Producing this particular story as a silent film was simply ingenious. It's both a love letter to old-time Hollywood and a thoroughly modern film. The film has so many nods to that long-gone era but still works so well for a modern audience. When characters in this film dismiss silent stars as just mugging for the camera it reinforces the point that this film's stars are not doing that. Yes, it's a silent film but unlike any we have ever seen before. And yet with enough of those old silent movie touches to make it a worthy homage. A very delicate balance was required and Hazanavicius created that balance perfectly. Of course it never could have worked without the right cast. What a challenge these performers had, doing something quite unlike anything they had done before. And they all nailed it. Dujardin was simply amazing. Bérénice Bejo, playing Peppy, matched him stride for stride. What a delightful pair they prove to be. James Cromwell gives such a heartfelt performance as Valentin's loyal chauffeur. And as head of Valentin's film studio John Goodman manages to be a loud presence even in complete silence, he's simply perfect for his role. Helped along all the way by a wonderful old-time sounding silent movie score the film gives you comedy, drama, romance. And often does it in ways only a silent movie can, Hazanavicius taking full advantage of his medium. Intertitles are used sparingly but to great effect, most notably in the film's most dramatic moment which so cleverly becomes the film's funniest moment. That great silent movie moment serves as a reminder of what films can be with a little imagination. Hazanavicius had the imagination. And he had the talent to bring his vision to life. It all adds up to a wonderfully unique, incredibly entertaining and supremely charming film.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Silent Masterpiece

9/10
Author: hani_78696 from India
11 December 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one of the best movies of the year 2011. i haven't seen much black-white and silent films but this is a gem. It brings back all the innocence and simplicity but with a rare execution. The Artist works on every level depicting the rise and fall of a superstar of silent films whose career face a breakage after the popularity of films with voice. He lost all his fans and masses but not the new female superstar who he has inspired so much. Jean Dujardin is just excellent and most charming star,his smile is so good,he totally deserved to win the Academy and other accolades for portraying his character with perfection. Bérénice Bejo plays more of a supporting role she looks most charming,naughty and raunchy. Her dance with Jean in climax is amazing,totally marvelous. The scene where Jean attempts to shoot himself,the scene is heart throbbing. All the supporting cast and screenplay is splendid Direction by Michel Hazanavicius is over the top. It deserves all the respect,awards and appreciation. Must watch this movie get lost in a retro world.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A Brilliant And Imaginative Film

9/10
Author: sddavis63 (revsdd@gmail.com) from Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada
14 November 2012

It is absolutely impossible to watch this film without being astonished by how well made it was by director Michel Hazanavicius. When you think about it, this was a risky project. In the second decade of the 21st century how many movie goers would actually be impressed by a silent movie? And I must admit that for the first few minutes I was tentative as I watched this, wanting to be impressed but holding back on my admiration, almost as if I wanted not to like it for some reason - but then succumbing, and having to admit that it really is a brilliant piece of movie making. And Hazanavicius deserves great credit for that. He took this very old and worn style of movie making and made a very new and fresh style of movie out of it. Once you're hooked - which you are very quickly, if not right away - you're hooked.

This is a great story. If you know anything about movie history, you know how true to life it is as well. How many silent actors just couldn't cope with the advent of the talkie? How many careers went down in flames almost literally overnight as the talkies took centre stage? In "The Artist" it's the fictional George Valentin who's facing this sudden upheaval. Valentin is a huge silent star for Kinograph Pictures, when all of a sudden the studio simply tells him that it's over. Everything they have - all their resources - are now being put into talkies, and George - as big a silent star as he was - just doesn't fit. As arrogant as he is in many ways, you still feel so sorry for him. His life crumbles; his marriage crumbles; he loses everything (except the love of his dog, who stays loyally by his side through everything.) He struggles to keep going. When Kinograph cuts him loose he tries directing and producing his own silent movie. I think the saddest scene in the entire film is the premiere of this effort, as we see an almost empty theatre watching. He WAS a big star - but no one cares about him anymore. The movies have passed him by. It would be the equivalent of people suddenly losing interest - all interest almost overnight - in George Clooney or Brad Pitt. There's a rawness to that simple shot of the almost empty theatre; it truly cuts at the viewer. And you wonder how many silent actors had this (or something similar) happen to them as the 20's suddenly became the 30's - and no one cared about them anymore. French actor Jean Dujardin was wonderful in this role. He silently captured Valentin's pain and bewilderment and sadness as the life he knew totally collapsed around him.

And, of course, there was the other side of the coin - represented by Peppy Martin (played by Berenice Bejo, who reminded me very much of a young Joan Collins.) Peppy was a fan of Valentin who managed to give the mega star a peck on the cheek, which photographers captured. That earned her some work as an extra and finally a scene with Valentin in one of his movies. Then - the talkies that destroyed Valentin were perfectly suited to Martin. She rocketed to superstardom even as Valentin collapsed into obscurity. From time to time their paths would cross, each time the different trajectories their lives and careers had taken becoming more noticeable. Bejo was also perfect in the role. She pulls off the hint of arrogance so natural for someone who's just become the hottest ticket in Hollywood, pointing out to reporters (as Valentin - unbeknownst to her listens) that people are tired of silent movie actors and all their "mugging." But she doesn't forget Valentin. She falls in love with him and rescues him, finally using her currency as Kinograph's new mega-star to insist on making a movie with him - or else. It can't be a talkie because Valentin doesn't do talkies. But it all leads up to an absolutely breath-taking dance routine between the two near the end of the movie.

Brilliant. Just brilliant. The supporting cast were equally strong - from James Cromwell as Valentin's (and later Miller's) chauffeur to John Goodman as the head of Kinograph Pictures to even Uggie as Valentin's loyal little pooch. A great movie. I found it just a little hard to get into at first, but I think that was my fault more than the movie's as I struggled slightly with the whole largely unfamiliar silent medium. (9/10)

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A Review

Author: cledorurun
21 October 2013

One day in 1927, a star actor George meets a new face actress named Peppy. He advises her to make a noticeable feature to be a big actress and pencils a false spot on her face. Two years later, because of a change of the screen from silent to talkie, the popularity of George falls but Peppy becomes a top actress…

What it is important that though this movie was made in 2011, it catches the atmosphere of the movies in 1920s. The pictures in this movie is in black and white and the makeup of characters are the very same as the 20s. The discovery of story is a little simple, but the performance of actors and stage direction are great. Motions and expressions of Peppy are very attractive and appearances of George after lose his position are so pathetic. But, more than them, the best player of this movie is the Dog of George!

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Class Speaks For Itself in every Language on every Level at All Times

9/10
Author: rifstmane from United States
8 May 2013

Just like the great written classic literature is appreciated for what we are able see it tells, this is its cinematic counterpart that have it viewers hear very well to what it is 'showing'. The story of this movie would grow more significant as one ages towards the maturity age of 40 and beyond, Hence making this motion masterpiece, even more sublime and profound than its already naughtily sarcastic but yet much needed and well timed message tell.

The question is then, have you really listened. I am glad to be able to say that I have and happy to know that some of the world if not the world of cinematic arts did. A '20's silent movie' justifying the highest arts and literature recognition and awards a century later.

'The Artists' of this movie must really have performed a Historical Master-Feat.

Have A Good 'Hearing'.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A Modern Silent Masterpiece

10/10
Author: ChristianUnchained
23 April 2013

From the beginning, this film was destined to fail.

I've never seen a silent film. I've got a couple on the "to-see" list, but I've never seen one. That's why I went into The Artist with excitement, but apprehension. Would I like it? People don't talk, what about the story? Will I get bored? All those questions disappeared in the first 10 minutes of the film.

Truly a delightful and utterly unique film, The Artist is pitch perfect (mind the irony)! I loved the characters, the rush backwards in time to the late 1920's, and ESPECIALLY the absolutely charming and 100% original film score to accompany the Artist.

The film itself is heavy with thought provoking material: Why does modern film lack the "movie magic"?, How can simplicity find a voice when big special effects or conformity are the true ticket seller? Who cares about character and story anymore? It's a unique film in this sense.

Continuing, you will love the characters. They don't utter a word, but you will grow extremely attached to them, from the start. Jean Dujardin is incredible as the lead as well! the acting is all around incredible!

From the beginning, the film was destined to fail. No big name stars, no eye popping trailer, it's not directed by Lucas or Spielberg or other big dogs, and...hold on...it's a silent film? In 2012? Are you kidding?

But your thinking is backwards. It's been tainted for years by big names, big budgets and big industry. The Artist is the most refreshing, delightful, fun and entertaining film I've seen in 2011. Give the Artist your full attention. This director, musical composer and wonderful cast has found their voice in the simplest of forms. And as Goodman puts it in the end, it's "PERFECT!"

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Silent movies of the past are still movies of art today

9/10
Author: johnathan frost from United States
24 January 2013

The Artist is A movie of romance,one mans tragedy and A intertwined relationship between the two main characters. The story,the character development, also the directing by Michel Hazanavicius was was pure art. The performances of Jean Dujarden,Berenice Bejo and the many others is something that is to be long remembered and shared with people who are also fans of the silent film genre. The Artist is A movie of pure art and it is something that has not been done in a long time. The way the dialogue was shown on screen,just like in the 1920s, was very well done.This made it feel like A movie of that era. The costume design felt as it was very authentic. The score for the film was phenomenal and powerful.Overall, anyone who is A fan of silent films should really watch this one.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Don't hesitate because it's B&W or silent. It's also a very lovely film!

8/10
Author: DopamineNL from Amsterdam, NL
17 December 2013

So it's black & white and silent. Silent?!? Yes. It has music to accentuate the scenes, and the sparse dialog that is essential is shown in text frames between the shots. Just like old times! It made me hesitate for months before I got to watching it. That was a mistake!

The Artist is certainly different, and it takes a few minutes to get used to, but with 'losing' sound it hasn't lost any of its potential to grab the audience and pull it into a true cinematic story from the old days. Rather, while the story is quite simple the lack of dialogue forces you to actively 'see' what's going on, which engages the audience (us!) much more, and much more intimately. You don't need to be a die- hard 1920s fan to be entertained by this film!

The film itself is a simple love-story between a proud actor (obviously modeled after Douglas Fairbanks, I thought) who falls hard when Hollywood switches from silent to 'talkies', and the upcoming actress he discovered who shines in the new, talking, cinema.

So if you hesitate because it's a silent B&W (or because you, rightfully, think 5 Oscars out of 10 nominations was a bit of an overreaction): don't, you won't regret seeing it!

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Dr. Johnson's Dog

Author: tadzio148 from United States
5 January 2012

I liked this movie, but it reminded me a bit of Dr. Johnson's dog walking on its two hind legs: it was noteworthy only because it could be done at all. (The real dog in The Artist is one of the best things in the film.) Otherwise, I was principally struck by the camera work. The film seems largely true in its sets, costumes, music and, most especially, in the over-sized, operatic acting that is necessary for a silent. But the camera work is oddly, relentlessly modern. The filmmaker avoids antique devises (there was one iris-in; no wipes or dissolves). The editing is quick. There was a lot more tracking and dollying than I think would be the case in your average silent where the actors spend more time moving about in a static establishing shot.

So we are left with an odd conclusion: the filmmaker (or the producers) evidently decided that we would pay money to see a silent film only if it was not VISUALLY true to the silent era. And, after all is said and done, we get exactly what the movie is: a modern film pretending to be a silent.

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Don't miss!!!!!

9/10
Author: msmith5484 from Burbank California
10 February 2012

The Artist is a wonderful movie. I can't say too many good things about it. It is funny, sweet, endearing, sad and lovely. I'm surprised at how moved I was. The leads (Jean Dujardin & Berenice Bejo) radiate charm, you can't help but root for them even when his pride get the best of him and she gets a little big-headed. Maybe it's just me but Jean Dujardin reminded me a little of Gene Kelly. Uggie (the dog) is marvelous - I don't know why he hasn't been nominated. I would call it a 'movie lovers movie', it has nods (or maybe winks) to 'Sunset Boulevard', 'Singin' in the Rain' and 'The Mark of Zorro'. Although this is a silent movie, there are moments of sound playfully executed. The story is relatively simple - how does an established star cope when trends and technology change faster then he wishes they would? There are a couple of nits I could pick, but why? Please do yourself a favor and see it.

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