The Artist

With all the buzz about The Artist before the Oscars, and its landslide wins at the Golden Globes, I had to do my due diligence and see it before the big award show is on. It’s the clear predicted winner for the Oscars, but not my personal favorite this season. I also read The Help could be the biggest spoiler (to win?) among the top films and Melancholia should have been nominated. My personal pick is The Descendants, although I haven’t seen all the nominees yet, but I can see now why The Artist cast and crew will likely be sent home with Mr. Oscar

As an homage to the silent film era, The Artist takes fans of it back to the glory days while drawing in a new audience from modern time. The film does so by slowly mixing a silent film with the style of talkies that evolved during the 1920s time frame it focuses on. At the center of the plot is George Valentin, a silent film actor who suddenly becomes washed up in the midst of talkies and the stardom of Peppy Miller, who started out as an extra.
The plot is simple and charming with the purpose to serve as a backdrop to the overall theme of the movie. As George struggles to find his place in the new world of film, and with being in existence all together, Peppy rises up in Hollywood. But she can’t escape George and their connection while making silent films, and ultimately saves him.
George also has the help of his trusty sidekick, a Jack Russell Terrier named (in real life) Uggie. Sadly, I read today that he is retiring after his appearance at the Oscars with Billy Crystal.
In my mind, Uggie definitely stole at least part of the show in The Artist.
But I digress.
Overall, the film is effective in its mission and presents a strong use of sound and emotion to convey a story as well as a slice of history. So the question remains, do I recommend the film? There are certainly movies in theaters I wanted to see more and before The Artist, but it did take me by surprise. It’s a film the viewer can get lost in and leave with a feeling of appreciation for a project with a lot of heart. Give it a try.

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