THE ARTIST (Michel Hazanavicius, 2011)
Whoever said that silent cinema is dead clearly hasn't seen THE ARTIST, which I can safely say the feel-good movie of this year's Oscars lineup. Jean Dujardin is in top form playing the proud silent actor George Valentin while equally entertaining and deeply affecting is Berenice Bejo as the cheerful actress Peppy Miller. The tandem is a match made in heaven.
A tale of love, ambition, change, and redemption, THE ARTIST has everything- thrills, humor, romance, spectacle, nostalgia, and a very lovable dog. The film concerns a silent movie actor, George Valentin faced with the inevitable shift of Hollywood into talkies, and the arrival of a girl, Peppy Miller who is big on dreams and bigger on heart. She will affect his life in ways he will not expect, and the redemption in the end is every moment worth it of all the dialogue we've been robbed off.
Guiding the plot into absolute cinematic heaven is Ludovic Bource's exceptional musical score, highly-deserving of its Academy Award and every bit magical. Meanwhile, the acting is nothing short of inspiration. Dujardin is dashing and a real crowd-pleaser. Bejo on the other hand, is warm and sunny. Supporting performances by John Goodman and James Cromwell are also notable. Cromwell especially as the trusted butler.
The plot is a classic story of fame and downfall in its truest sense. It teaches us nothing new yet THE ARTIST makes a worthwhile watch because of the wondrous recreation of Hollywood's silent era and the charming chemistry of its leads. Moreover, Dujardin and Bejo play their characters so well every sense of empathy we have we are willing to share.
Here is a film you can finally sit back on, without having to deal with outstanding social issues, political agenda, or family problems.