Yet another one of the ‘little films that could’ that ended up sweeping all the awards pretty much the world over, The Artist is a modern day silent the way films should be made. The film is an obvious love letter to silent cinema at its heyday, and one can’t blame it for being so; it is pretty much part of the very premise of the film. It’s silent, it’s black & white, and it couldn’t possibly be better; everything that makes a great film a great film is here in some way, and in many more ways the film pays homage to those qualities that make films splendid.
Filled with a manic energy, Michel Hazanavicius directs the film with splendor and aplomb. The film easily stands on its own two feet, and adds so much goodness to every frame that a diabetic might have trouble getting through this in one shot. Everything the film does either includes or pays homage to that great era of moviemaking, even the parts that aren’t so sunshine and sparkly, and the film couldn’t succeed any more if it were trying to. This is one that I have no doubt will benefit from viewing some behind-the-scenes features on the making of it, just to see how they did what they did and the way they shot what they shot. Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo make an impeccable pair, filled with energy and a robust drive to embody everything that silent stars could be. Oh, and did I mention the puppy? Because the film, in an obvious nod to Skippy the film wonder dog, has a darling little puppy that puts the film over the top in sugary sweet content.
The Artist ended up becoming one of the most awarded films in history, and not just at the Academy Awards. Being a French film, in that its director, main stars, and production team were all French, the film also swept the Cesar Awards, and even won Dujardin the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival. It even has a 98% at Rotten Tomatoes, so with all the acclaim it got, there has to be something special about it. If you skipped out on this one either because of all the praise it garnered, or you didn’t feel like going out to see a silent picture, or for whatever reason, you’re missing out on one of the best films in recent memory. It’s not just a great film, it encapsulates everything that makes films magical, and if you love films for any reason, you’ll fall in love with The Artist.
Arbitrary Rating: 10/10