Monday, January 30, 2012

The Artist

The Artist
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Stars: Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, and Uggie

Did you hear that people were leaving the theater because they didn't know the movie was actually going to be silent, like all the way through?  Really.  It's too bad they left.  It was a sweet, special movie that should be seen over and over again.  It probably won't change lives but it'll transport you to another time and who doesn't like that?

The story is a simple one.  A very popular silent film actor greets the talkies with disdain.  No one will want to hear him talk.  He's an artist who doesn't need tricks like sound!  His career takes a downward turn and to add insult to injury the stock market crashes.  Meanwhile a young ingenue (who owes her career to him) is having great success and almost lets it get to her head.  She doesn't and he benefits from it.  The impact they have on each other is measurable and this time we're the ones who benefit.

The ONLY thing I didn't like about the movie was the aspect ratio and it's something my friend Kate didn't even notice, which shows I'm just nitpicky.  It was probably a choice early on that the director made so that it would truly reflect the movies it honors.  It was a little distracting for me but I can forgive it.

The actors all did a fabulous job with showing emotion and not mugging or hamming it up when not needed.  The direction was great.  It was shot beautifully.  The music was perfect.  I just can't say enough nice things.  I keep going back to the two words that won't leave my head, "sweet" and "special."  There's not much else out there like this and I hope other movie makers are inspired to push the envelope in this kind of direction.  Not that I think we need an onslaught of silent movies.  I'm just encouraged by this kind of creativity.

In fact it was a good movie weekend for me.  I watched The Tree of Life on DVD and Tracy really hit the nail on the head with her review.  I watched Margin Call on Saturday on DVD as well. That was a really great movie and incredibly depressing in its reality.  Then my weekend wrapped with The Artist.  This makes up for last weekend when I saw Underworld: We're Still Making These and Haywire.  I can't even get myself to write about Underworld.  It wasn't bad (it actually was OK considering it's an Underworld movie; I have an odd affinity for them) but I just have no motivation.  Maybe tomorrow.  Maybe not.

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