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February 28, 2012

My review of The Artist

Filed under: movies — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 11:37 am

I would never have gone to see The Artist, if it had not won five academy awards including awards for best picture and best actor.  Who wants to see a French, black and white, silent film?  Not me!

The film is actually a silent film about the making of silent films.  A very interesting concept.

The Artist won the award for Best Original Music Score.  I usually don’t pay any attention to the musical score in a movie since I know nothing about music.  Since this is a silent movie, one can’t help but notice the music; I liked the music very much.

French actor Jean Dujardin won the award for best male actor.  What was so good about his performance?  I would say that he deserved the award because of his very subtle performance — he didn’t over play the part. His acting is not like the acting in the real silent movies; he didn’t do the typical mugging for the camera.  Instead, he plays the part of a very charming, old-time silent screen, “matinee idol” very well.  As I watched him on the screen, I kept thinking of the line:  “Oozing charm from every pore, he oiled his way across the floor.”

Dujardin also does some tap dancing in the movie.  He is no Fred Astaire but he did very well.

Dujardin’s part in the movie seems to be modeled on actor John Gilbert, who was a big star in silent films, but didn’t make the transition to talkies.

In the movie, the leading man, George Valentin, played by Jean Dujardin, falls in love with the leading woman, Peppy Miller, played by Bérénice Bejo. This actually happened when John Gilbert fell in love with Greta Garbo in a movie script, and also fell in love with her in real life.  Allegedly John Gilbert didn’t make it in the talkies because he had a high voice.  This is not part of the plot of The Artist.

There were many good performances in this picture, especially the part of Peppy Miller played by Bérénice Bejo.  John Goodman does a good job of playing a studio boss.  The dog named Uggy steals the show.

I went to see The Artist in an old-time movie theater which used to show silent movies.  The theater had the original seats from the 1920s and the theater looked like the theater that is shown in the movie.  The orchestra pit in this old theater is now used for seating of people in wheel chairs.

The Artist is not a completely silent movie. There is some sound and of course, there is music playing most of the time. During the sections where the film is completely silent, one could hear the rustle of popcorn bags and the clearing of throats.  About ten minutes into the movie, someone in the audience started snoring very loudly.  Mercifully, someone woke him up, but about 20 minutes later, he started snoring again and was escorted out of the theater.

In addition to the man who could not stay awake during this movie, there were two men who walked out while the movie was playing.  The entrance to the theater was in the front, so everyone could see the long walk out of the theater. Very disconcerting, to say the least.

Mark Bridges won an award for best costumes in The Artist.  The costumes were from the 1920s, of course.  I didn’t pay much attention to the costumes, but I liked the fact that a lot of old stuff from the 1920s was shown. There was an old Speed Graphic camera with a vintage flash gun.  Also, some old microphones and recording equipment, an old refrigerator, and a lot of old cars.  Everything was authentic 1920s, right down to the handle on a casement window.  Anyone who loves antiques will enjoy this movie.

I think that The Artist is a picture that will mainly appeal to older people.  Young people will probably not enjoy it and might even walk out, as two people did when I saw the movie.  Shame on them!

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