The Artist – The STiXXclusive Review
It’s been a while since I last did a review of some sort, and I apologize for the long delay.
This review should have come before the Academy Awards were aired, but life happens, right? Right. A lot of talk was surrounding this movie, both good and bad, but mostly good. The only bad that people had to say was that it was a silent movie as if we were watching movies back in the late 1800s – early 1900s. I didn’t mind it, I actually thought it was pretty cool to bring back the classic black & white cinema style in today’s age, because a lot of people are old school and grew up on this. I, in fact did not, but I’ve watched enough Alfred Hitchcock to have an appreciation for the lost art.
The Artist was an amazing movie, let me just get that point out of the way. It brought to the table, humour, romance, defeat, jealousy, an entertaining dog (and usually I despise animals), and overall, a great story, and a very well executed idea; all of this without hearing a word of dialogue for the (almost) entire duration of the movie. They do say that audio drives the video, and it’s true. The first movies started off with no dialogue in them at all, and were driven by the up tempo play of a piano that changed up during the moods. This was no different, but instead of a piano, it was a full on orchestra. It just made you feel the emotions as the movie went along, and there were some subtitles to catch on with what was happening between characters, but it wasn’t a lot to take away from the movie.
Jean Dujardin earned his Oscar, I’ll admit that. He played George Valentin, who was a big movie star in the early –mid 1920s. He was full of himself, a showman, but he basked in the limelight, and the people loved it. He didn’t rub off of his co-star actress at all, but he didn’t care because all of the attention was on him. That’s how most actors are; they love the spotlight, and will do anything to gain the love of the crowd, because it moves them, it inspires them, and overall, it pays him more money. But, what happens when you’ve been overtaken by someone that you helped get to their status to overtake your light? Of course you would feel severe resentment and scorn. That was critical in Dujardin’s character, and he pretty much nailed it, because fuelled by the orchestra building suspense, he provoked it more by his actions on screen. It was quite riveting, if you ask me.
His co-star Bérénice Bejo, plays Peggy Miller, who ended up, accidentally getting into the spotlight, by way of George Valentin (ironic, that he pretty much played Cupid by marrying her into the show business. She’s pretty much full of life, she’s beautiful, she’s talented, and she’s what the people want to see in the future of the movie business. This movie did a good job of really showing the transition between two styles of movies only within a few years of each other, and in the process, you had the infamous Stock Market Crash of 1929, which eventually lead into The Great Depression. The movies were one way of people to find some joy through the darkest times, and the face of those dark times was that of Peggy Miller’s. She has a heart of gold, and didn’t refuse to let that show when she committed random acts of kindness towards George’s benefit. I loved her character, because she personified what to look for in a woman; confidence, charisma, talent, beauty, and intellect. She had it all, and she flaunted it superbly.
The main reason why I loved this movie so much was because of the fact that it was a silent movie. Sometimes, you want the movie to tell the story instead of the characters. You want to be able to feel everything that’s going on simply by the music that’s playing on the screen, and also I loved the storyline: A great actor in his time gets overshadowed by an actress he helped pave the way for into a new era & style of movies. It spoke volumes about what Hollywood was leaning more towards, and that it didn’t matter if you were great then. You could be somebody today and a nobody in an instant. John Goodman’s character as the Producer of the film company that hired George & Peggy, said “this is what the public wants, and the public is never wrong.” The people move with the times, so inevitably, so does Hollywood. Everyone comes and goes, and it’s a vicious cycle that has been happening for decades. This was merely an example of what it was like back then. It was very well executed in my opinion, and this will go down as one of the best movies of all time when it’s all said and done. Don’t be surprised if this is a movie that your kids will be watching in school one day. This is one of those movies that I’d love to own on DVD to collect for a long time, because it was that enjoyable. A huge merci beaucoup to the French for providing this great film, but for now, this is my opinion, this is my review