The Artist has only gone and made it onto my list of favourite films of all time. This may puzzle a few of you since my other favourite films include the Lord of the Rings and the Dark Knight trilogy. I must admit that despite the brilliant reviews, I wasn’t all that keen to watch The Artist. I’m not particularly fond of either black and white or silent films but The Artist completely blew me away.
The story is set in Hollywood between 1927 and 1932 and follows the lives of George Valentin, a falling silent film star struggling to find his place in the rise of the ‘talkies’ and Peppy Miller, a young actress whose fame is rapidly increasing. George is too proud to become a talkie actor and as the years go by he finds himself wasting away. Luckily Peppy, who hasn’t forgotten how George helped her when she first entered the industry, is there to help him.
This film has everything. Moments of happiness, moments of comedy, moments of heartbreak, you name it. I was smiling widely from the very beginning of The Artist and the first half of this film should win some sort of award for being the feel-good film of the year. In contrast, I spent most of the second part of this film clutching my pillow and either covering my mouth in shock or bawling my eyes out. Before I started watching the film I’d told myself that I’d just watch half of it and then go to sleep, but once the movie got going there was no way I was going to bed without finishing it.
As this is a silent film, the good acting and miming were essential to making The Artist a success. The actor Jean Dujardin is my new favourite French actor because he is simply hilarious. He is an excellent actor who really brings this film alive and his story brings with it the comedy and heartbreak. Not only is he good at acting, but he is also an excellent dancer and he does some pretty nifty tricks with his dog. Parfait! Oh, and don’t forget that brilliantly French moustache that he pulls off so well. Berenice Bejo was also a great actress but I think she was outshone by Dujardin, which is a shame. Curiously, there are also a few Hollywood actors in this film including John Goodman and Missy Pyle. (If you don’t recognise their names you’ll almost certainly recognise their faces).
The soundtrack for The Artist is delightful. It is so brilliantly French and romantic and fits perfectly with the atmosphere of the film. The music is one of the utmost importance given that it’s a silent film and in this case I think music speaks louder than words. I have already downloaded the entire score and I have repeatedly danced around my room to it imagining myself to be in the 1920s. The music and the costumes are enough to make you wish that you had been born 100 years earlier.
This production of this film confuses me greatly, because it is deemed to be a ‘French Film’ and yet there are a great deal of Hollywood actors in it, the film is set in Hollywood, the subtitles are in English and it’s distributed by Warner Bros. Very perplexing. The general style of the film makes it easy to identify as a French film though because Hollywood could never come up with anything this … happy, heartbreaking, funny, the list goes on.
If I haven’t already convinced you to go and watch this incredible film then perhaps this little fact will. The Artist has an entire wikipedia page dedicated to all the awards that this film has won (check it out here: List of accolades received by The Artist (film)). Just to name a few: the film was nominated for ten Academy Awards, at the British Academy Film Awards, it won seven BAFTAs out of twelve nominations, at the Golden Globe Awards the film was nominated in six categories, more than any other film nominated, The Artist is the first French film to win a Best Film Golden Globe and Dujardin is the first French actor to win the Best Actor Golden Globe since Gérard Depardieu, who won it in 1991, receiving ten César Awards nominations, the film managed to win six of them. The Artist is the most awarded French film in history.
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