Saturday, February 25, 2012

Shhhhh ...It’s a Silent Movie!

I was not prepared to like The Artist all that much. After all, it was in black and white and used subtitles (you know, like closed captioning) instead of dialogue. There was music of course, and near the end, a sound or two.
Then, lo and behold, I started caring about those black-and-white people, got sucked into their story, exhibited all the right emotions at the right times, and – although it was maddeningly predictable – fell under its spell.
Much of that was due to the performances of three of its stars – two of them Oscar-nominated.
Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo are both delightful in their roles as the silent movie star and the up-and-coming talkies ingenue. Their budding love story is really fun to watch. 

The story has every up and down: elation, sorrow, love, heartbreak, humor, triumph, tragedy, and redemption. 
And it has Uggie. Now there’s one actor that should have been nominated. The adorable little Jack Russell Terrier sticks to Dujardin like glue, and his every move is just terminally cute. Everyone should be so lucky as to have a dog like that. 
The makers of this movie did several things right. They cast the right actors, the aforementioned and others like James Cromwell, John Goodman, and Penelope Ann Miller. They got the details right, with great props and sets and costumes that allowed us to step back in time to the late ‘20s and early ‘30s. The home decor, the cars, everything was perfect.
The movie isn’t perfect – it’s pretty simple after all – but it sure was fun. 
As for it’s Oscar chances, I’m ambivalent. I’ll discuss that further in my Oscar picks ... which will follow this post.
But for now, I’d recommend you get to a theater and see The Artist. You won’t waste your money!
I’m giving this three-and-a-half reels (out of four). Actually, more like three-and-three-quarters.

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