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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars NO ONE WANTS TO SEE ME SPEAK
This is a good movie, but it typically one that is overrated because it shows some kind of class, intellect and refinement to proclaim itself as genius. The production starts with 3 strikes against it. First, at times, it is a movie within a movie. Second, it is in black and white, and third, it is mostly all silent. With all the rave, I was willing to attempt an open...
Published on 23 Jun. 2013 by The Movie Guy

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not sure what all the fuss was about!
Although The Artist is probably worth watching I'm glad I didn't take the trouble of going to the cinema to watch it. It was okay, and rather unusual but I cant work out why it created so much fuss, and I really don't believe it deserved the awards it garnered. Maybe it's a film-makers film.....?
Published on 17 Jan. 2013 by Nettle


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars NO ONE WANTS TO SEE ME SPEAK, 23 Jun. 2013
This review is from: The Artist [DVD] (DVD)
This is a good movie, but it typically one that is overrated because it shows some kind of class, intellect and refinement to proclaim itself as genius. The production starts with 3 strikes against it. First, at times, it is a movie within a movie. Second, it is in black and white, and third, it is mostly all silent. With all the rave, I was willing to attempt an open mind viewing (zombie films are sometimes in black and white too).

These techniques were done to to give us the flavor of the films of the era. Even though those restored masters are available, who among the 5 star rave reviewers watch them? You could list them on one hand, or maybe one finger. In the silent era, the jokes were visual. The sound track created the mood, more so than it does today, and actors had to make dramatic movements to create emotions. They used their face...a term called "mugging" in the film. This was brilliantly brought out in the film, although we already knew that.

The film uses symbolism, such as when our star George Valentin's (Jean Dujardin)career is sinking, it shows him in a film sinking in quicksand. Good yes. Genius? Hardly. The script reminded me of "A Star is Born" (pick one) where a star launches the career of a new star only to see his fade. George is "The Artist" who believes talkies are not art. Besides the studio no longer wants George. They want fresh faces such as rising star Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo).

I liked the idea of doing the silent movie film to show us the transition from silent to talkies, I just didn't like the predictable script. Plot is important.

No f-bombs, sex, or nudity. You should be able to read lips after this film.
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53 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful homage to the early days of cinema., 17 Jan. 2012
By 
Mr. R. W. Graham (Lincoln, U.K.) - See all my reviews
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What's this? A French black and white silent film? In this day and age of overblown cgi and 3d effects? What were they thinking?!! Well as it turns out The Artist is a beautiful work of art that takes you back to the early days of cinema, and the days when silent cinema was starting to make way for the talkies. It's stunning to look at and very funny too with great performances as a silent movie star finds himself being upstaged then replaced by a new actress and then the talkies themselves which he refuses to do because he is an artist and feels that the audience does not need to hear him speak. This is also a very moving film and seeing it on the big screen must have been pretty close to what it was like for audiences in the 20's. And watch out for Uggie the dog who completely steals the film. This is quite simply one of the most charming and inoffensive films that you will ever see.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 20 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: The Artist [DVD] (DVD)
This is a creative, charismatic, gorgeous film performed by talented actors.
Before watching it, it's a bit off-putting to imagine watching a film without dialogue, but you DO NOT MISS IT. This is a truly wonderful film that left me wanting to stand up in my living room and clap when it was finished!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For Lovers Of Classic Movies Everywhere., 12 Jun. 2012
By 
Chip Kaufmann (Asheville, NC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Artist [DVD] (DVD)
This clever take on the silent era is a valentine (note the titular character's name) to Old Hollywood and especially to lovers of classic movies. Unknown French director Michel Hazanavicius, who also wrote the screenplay, wanted to take on the challange of making a silent film, complete with black & white photography & title cards, in the 21st century. To say that he succeeded (whether you like the film or not) cannot be denied.

The movie opens in 1927 Hollywood. Silent superstar George Valentin (a combination of Douglas Fairbanks Sr & John Gilbert & played by French actor Jean Dujardin) is about to be caught up in the transition to sound. While he is dealing with this crisis, young extra Peppy Miller (a cross between the young Joan Crawford, Clara Bow, & Gloria Swanson & winningly played by Berenice Bejo who just happens to be the director's wife) makes the transition to sound and is on her way up. The parallel to A STAR IS BORN is obvious along with several other references to classic films such as CITIZEN KANE (the breakfast scene), SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (the sound test), & THE THIN MAN (the dog). For the end sequence, pick the Astaire-Rogers musical of your choice.

Along with the French performers, two American character actors are given prominent roles in the proceedings. John Goodman plays the classic Hollywood studio head complete with fat cigar while James Cromwell is George's loyal chauffeur (a reference to SUNSET BOULEVARD). Both adapt themselves well to the silent medium. While there are several references to other classic Hollywood films, THE ARTIST is more than just a simple homage. It's also the heartwarming story of two people headed in different directions with some lightweight comedy thrown in & one classic scene between Berenice Bejo & an empty coat.

Despite all the critical praise, THE ARTIST does have some issues from my perspective as an instructor on silent movies. Most of them are visual and won't be noticed by the casual filmgoer. The number one problem is with the lighting. Most silent films have a much more varied contrast between light & shadow (even the comedies of Chaplin, Keaton & Lloyd) but then silent films weren't shot in color on modern equipment and then turned into black & white. This also gives the film a rather flat look on occasion which becomes somewhat boring after awhile. I would have liked to see the lighting and photography change as the time frame moved from the silent to the sound era.

But this is scholarly nitpicking. I was delighted at how well THE ARTIST captures the spirit of the era although that era is much more the early 1930s than the late 1920s. I am even more delighted that it's reaching a mainstream audience who are now discovering the world of the silent cinema for the first time. In interviews director Hazanavicius said that that is what he hoped his "little film" would do, which it has. Silent films are not for everyone and never will be but they are a valid art form as different from sound films as ballet is from opera. For opening the door to a wider appreciation of the films of the distant past, THE ARTIST deserves its accolades.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Inspired, 7 Jun. 2012
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Artist [DVD] (DVD)
There are many movies made, but only a small minority of them are really great, and this film is definitely one of them. When I first heard about this I thought that it would be something arty that only a few people would want to see, but after seeing it I was bowled over. Beautifully shot in black and white, with a superb cast and a great musical score, there is nothing to dislike here.

The main story is of course a romance, but also with this is the story of how a lot of actors failed to make it when the 'Talkies' came along, even though they had been big before then. So, why would you want to watch a silent movie? The story here only really has a minimal dialogue on the screen, so in a way you can make up some of it yourself, but on top of that this film evokes the era it is about. All the actors, especially the two principal actors pull off with quite some aplomb how acting used to be back in the old days. Without a soundtrack things were expressed more visibly, which isn't necessarily that easy, as it can so easily come across as camp today. Thankfully that doesn't happen here, and you can relive the experience like when our grandparents first watched movies.

Of course, there are human actors here, but what would this be without the dog? A real star. This DVD does have extras, which include the making of the film, along with pieces about the locations, etc., and also there is a bloopers piece as well. This is well worth getting and is a thing of beauty, a film that really is a piece of art.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hollywood LOVES Hollywood!, 13 April 2012
By 
Tim Kidner "Hucklebrook Hound" (Salisbury, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Artist [DVD] (DVD)
As I watched the Oscars unfolding through the small hours back in February on Sky, I was both flabbergasted and then rather irritated at the regularity of "the Academy Award goes to....The Artist", mainly because I knew of the real talent that was being consequently going away empty-handed.

Afterwards, finally seeing The Artist with friends in a multiplex, we were all a bit underwhelmed by the whole thing. The Oscar's hype had elevated it way and above that was mortally possible and whilst good, it couldn't weave its golden magic on us.

Out of my friends, I'm the only one who watches Silent movies in any shape or form. Therefore, that novelty was not going to overwhelm me. We all agreed on three positive things, though. 1 - The undeniable charm, charisma and dash of lead actor Jean Dujardin. 2 - The story toward the end and 3- The Dog. The dog, each and every time, every scene he's in were amazing and some really had to have been painstakingly choreographed.

As I said, the story picked up about a third way in and after George Valentin's (Dujardin) fall from fame and his nightmare flashed his situation to us, I could see where this movie was going and it finally 'clicked'. That the story was going to be similar to the essence of 'Singin' in the Rain', charting the dilemma that film-makers and actors of the silent era faced, which, of course, hailed the end for many huge stars, such as Charlie Chaplin.

The thrust - and a clever one - is that here, with The Artist, we have a French production, with an actor with a heavy and perhaps difficult to follow accent, who by being "silent", could make a surprise Hollywood hit. In every sense, it looks and feels old Hollywood, because you can't hear it. And that's what happened to many silent stars, who couldn't sing or speak eloquently. With the advent of the microphone, they were immediately assigned to the scrapheap. Once we ascertain that Valentin needs to find a new way of making a living and understand how the chorus girl he helped out is now a star, the film, for me, opened up and moved on nicely.

Yes, the production values are impeccable and its relative novelty raise it above the ordinary. As for the Academy and their generosity, well, the previous year they lauded the British 'The King's Speech', which was different and well made enough for them to take it to their hearts. And, of course and maybe above all, Hollywood just loves Hollywood!
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111 of 128 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Silent sensation, 24 Dec. 2011
By 
Jon Chambers (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Artist [DVD] (DVD)
As a trainee projectionist at a small-town French cinema, I naturally get to see quite a few films. Occasionally, they are screened before their UK release. And very occasionally, as here, they are brilliant. In short, it's one of my two recommendations of the year. (The other, incidentally, is Intouchables, another superb film which also suggests that the glory days of French cinema are not all in the past.)

It is vital not to give too much away. Suffice it to say that the plot revolves around the male lead, a silent movie icon (played by Jean Dujardin) and his efforts to cope with dwindling fame brought about by the Hollywood vogue for 'talkies' at the end of the Twenties. Sound is completely alien to his kind of cinema and, of course, being a silent film itself, The Actor shows the world from his perspective. But The Actor isn't completely mute, as we hear on just a couple of occasions. One instance comes right at the end and explains ... well, something quite important.

I'd never heard of the principal actors. Both are utterly captivating. Director Michel Hazanavicius (incidentally, the husband of the female lead, Berenice Bejo) has apparently wanted to make a silent movie for ages. The long gestation period shows in this thoughtful, clever homage to Hollywood's silent era. Implausibly, a modern film without (much) sound or colour maintains viewer interest throughout. It is witty, impossibly romantic, intriguing and, above all, a must-see for anyone who's losing their love of cinema. What should be nothing more than an interesting idea or a bit of a cliché (note the fire, dog and policeman episode), is in fact the absolute opposite: fresh and original. And one of the best films of the year.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warm, entertaining homage to Silent Cinema, 6 Jan. 2014
By 
Andres C. Salama (Buenos Aires, Argentina) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Artist [DVD] (DVD)
This French made homage to silent movies is a bit of a gimmick, being a silent movie itself, but is extremely well made. It would be easy to dismiss it as an amusing stunt, but director Michel Hazanavicius's hand is so sure and his actors so engaging that the movie deservedly won an Oscar for best picture. We are in 1927 and George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), the artist of the title, is a leading man of the silent cinema who is about to hit it tough when talking movies arrive. Bérénice Bejo (an Argentine born actress who is married to Hazanavicius in real life) is the perky, spunky Peppy, an irresistible starlet who rises at the same time that Valentin falls. Also costarring are John Goodman as a Hollywood mogul and James Cromwell as George Valentin's butler (they are all very fine). The authentic Los Angeles locations, the reconstruction of the 1920s and the extraordinary photography help a lot. My only complaint, is that the happy ending seems quite weak, a bit of a concession to the public, given what went on before, though, of course, a sad ending would probably be even more disappointing.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Its brilliance is enhanced in this small screen format, I adored it., 10 Jun. 2012
By 
Jan D. M. (Hertfordshire UK) - See all my reviews
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I first saw this film in a London cinema (our local multiplexes deemed it too `alternative' for their audiences - shame on them). I left the cinema smiling and energised by the music, the simple story line, the acting - especially Jean Dujardin (his smile lights up the screen), the staging, the lighting and of course Uggie!
I was slightly concerned that all this would be lost on a DVD, albeit a Blu-ray one. However, this film benefits from a closer, more contained viewing. I was more emotionally connected to George Valentin's despair, his downward spiral and subsequent renewal. This film deserved all of its awards. Finally, George & Peppa's concluding dance is sublime. I highly recommend this film. I certainly will be watching it again and again. It's perfect for a self-indulgent rainy afternoon.
The extras include a very short 'blooper' reel in the style of the movie, and a narrative of the set design, buildings used and costume design. These are in colour at times and it was almost a shock to see George, Peppa and Uggie in full technicolour, let alone speaking and barking!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IT LEAVES YOU SMILING INSIDE!, 20 April 2014
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Yes it's true, it's a silent movie. BUT as long as you are in the zone, and don't get distracted, this is also an amazing piece of cinematography. After five minutes, you won't even realise it's not a "talkie", and your head will be creating the dialogue for you! Then add to that the superb score, and you're there, interacting with them. It deserved every award and nomination it got, and I look forward to another.. Buy yours now!
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The Artist [DVD]
The Artist [DVD] by Michel Hazanavicius (DVD - 2012)
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