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The Artist is magnifique

January 17th, 2012  |  Published in New Reels

I’m speechless. I’m blown away. I cried buckets. I’ve just seen The Artist.

The Artist_George and PeppyWords are what The Artist is all about but words almost cannot describe how wonderful it is. Tons of critics have already hailed this truly imaginative film as the picture of the year and I’m joining them.

I did a post in December 2011 before it had even opened in the UK, called ‘Is this the best film of the year?’ and now I’ve seen it, I can’t imagine all the awards going to any more deserving candidate that this one. One that celebrates the art of film itself – a peerless homage to silent movies and the advent of sound that changed the industry forever. The way that sound is slowly introduced in the film – from sound effects, to singing, to finally speech – is exquisite and the mark of the really gifted film-maker.

But where do you really start in trying to describe how fantastic this movie is? With the dog, of course! Uggie, the canine supporting star, has got his fair share of press and he’s pretty terrific but nowhere near as brilliant as the 2 humans leading this story – Jean Dujardin is breathtaking as silent movie icon George Valentin, all puffed up pride in his place in the world at the start but when his star falls, his face agonisingly displays the tragedy that he could be heading towards.

The Artist - Peppy and GeorgeAnd Berenice Bejo is completely his equal as the rising talkie smash hit Peppy Miller, gauche and beaming with happiness to begin with, that only seems to return when she can help Valentin and for the rest of the time, even though she’s the toast of Hollywoodland, her eyes are filled with the sadness of what she’s destroyed. Their relationship, from initial surprise meeting to possible redemptive conclusion, is the heart of this most extraordinary romantic musical/ comedy/ drama – one surely never to be bettered.

The most praise however, must be given to the really gifted film-maker I mentioned a moment ago – writer / director Michel Hazanavicius. What a beautiful vision he’s created. He persevered in the face of people telling him he was making a movie no one wanted to see – hell, yes we do! And its got a tap dancing sequence to die for, so what more could you want? There’s not much else to say, except go and see this astonishing movie and once you have, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

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