George Valentin is a successful silent film star, until the talkies come along, and George struggles to find a place in this new world. On top of that, a girl he helped discover begins to gain the fame and fortune that’s slowly slipping away from him. Also there’s a cute dog. Due to the subject matter, this movie is presented as a silent film, with the occasional reading of dialogue.
I was a little taken aback by how un-taken aback I was after viewing The Artist. I had high expectations because of all the buzz about it, and it was a fine movie. I enjoyed my time watching it. It did hold me, but it didn’t thrill me, kiss me, or kill me.
I found the silent film thing to be gimmicky, in the same way Chronicle used the found footage method in their superhero tale. The actual story of The Artist is predictable with no surprises or twists. The acting is fine, but I think any other set of actors could have done the same thing. The score that saturates the entire film is wonderful, and I think it’s the music that gives the movie its’ emotions and power.
I did enjoy its’ obvious references to another amazing and important movie, The Room. (If you have never heard of The Room, there is no way for me to accurately describe the experience, except that that’s what it is; an experience. Just watch it.) The climactic scene in both The Artist and The Room is nearly identical, as our protagonists reach the end of their respective ropes. There is also a scene in The Artist where Peppy, a rising star in the talking pictures, gives her view on the changing times of movies. She explains, “People are sick to death of those old actors who pull faces to make themselves understood. Anyway, it’s normal for the young to take over from the old, make way for youth. That’s life!”
That is the same advice Johnny gave to Mike, who had a recent tragedy.
The Artist didn’t melt my heart, and if it weren’t for the buffalo wings and beer I was consuming at the time, I might have gotten bored. Thanks Movie Tavern. Honestly, I’m only being extra hard on it because I have seen so many reviews that say it’s amazingly brilliant. To that I’d say, “Whoa there, buddy. Put your pants back on. It’s a delightful film with creativity and smarts, not a masterpiece. Are we cool? Ok. Now let’s go dancing.”