The Artist

Mom Under Cover says run, don’t walk (better yet, tap dance) your way to see The Artist.

The Artist; Grade A-

I was curious to find out if this homage to silent films lives up to the buzz.  Thankfully, it is a winner!  The only face you’re likely to recognize is John Goodman who plays a studio executive.  Jean Dujardin portrays George Valentin, a silent movie actor at the height of his career (think Clark Gable).   Peppy Miller lives up to her name (played by Berenice Bejo) as a young accidental actress on the way up.  Valentin’s descending career and the ascension of Miller’s creates the necessary tension.  The relationship between Peppy and George is the at the core of the film, though it is not the romance you expect.  Their chemistry however, is remarkable. The advent of the talkies and the Great Depression factor in Valentin’s struggles. Both actors make the effort of communicating using only facial expression seem natural and effortless.

French director, Michel Hazanivicus captures Hollywood in the 1920’s and is apparently faithful to the look of movies from that era.  One reviewer noted that the tight close-ups, kitschy transitions and German Expressionist-influenced lighting were as faithful to the period as the hairdos and wardrobe.  The score (Ludovic Bource) is bouncy throughout and as much a character as the actors.  It definitely evokes the music of the real silent movies. The tap dancing scenes are fabulous! The only criticism I have is the pacing about two thirds through . . . it does seem to drag before it picks up again.  Overall, a very entertaining flick.

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