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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 16 October 2016
This is a good, simple story filmed in 2011 but as a silent black and white film, so as to look like the films of the 1920s, the period in which the story is set, although it was filmed with modern technology.

The frames are slightly speeded up to suggest the look of early silent films, although not as much as they would have been then, due to the limited number of frames per second that cameras of the earlier twentieth century could record.

‘The Artist’ is about a silent movie star of the 1920s who helps an unknown young actress begin her career, only to see her become rich and famous while he is ruined when he cannot adapt to the new medium of films with sound. The story ends on a happier note.

In the quite interesting and extensive DVD extras (mostly in colour and with sound!) the leading actors look very different when not made up as their characters.

‘The Artist’ received numerous awards, including Oscars. This may owe a little to the film industry liking films about itself. I give it 4 stars rather than 5.

However, I did care about the characters and found making a black and white, silent film in the modern era an interesting choice partly because it is such an unusual thing to do. It is unlikely to have many imitators, but just now and then, as here, it works.
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on 26 April 2017
The Artist isn't just a film, it's a cinematic experience. Oh yes, my first silent film and I enjoyed this immensely. The feel good factor, the classy production values and the close attention to the small details. It's got it all. Dujardin and Bejo were great at capturing that classic Hollywood feel, and Uggie was one talented dog! Silent acting is difficult, having to portray all your emotions physically just from the face and they did such a grand job. I loved the musical score, really elevated the experience and was fitting for each scene. I adored the fact that some scenes actually included sound effects, was just genius. My only gripe, is that the second third was slightly uneven in pacing. But I can safely say this film has opened my eyes to the world of silent movies.
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on 5 May 2017
Enchanting film, mesmerising just watching their lips move, and a star turn from the dog.
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on 20 March 2017
Grandad pioneer of early film and would know this story well - loved it.
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on 31 March 2013
I watched this at the cinema but bought this as a gift for somebody I knew who would enjoy it but doesn't go to the cinema. They were delighted with it.
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on 20 June 2013
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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on 7 September 2014
I sat down to watch and thought, "No way". Black and white and no-one was talking! I mean I like B&W films but what sort of pretentious affectation was this, to make a black and white film in 2012 (or whenever it was)? But I decided to give it ten minutes and straight away it grabbed my interest. I loved the dog - haven't seen method acting like that since 'Eddie' began his star turn on Frasier. Then I spent a lot of time trying to work out if Jean Dujardin was like a cross between Errol Flynn and Gene Kelly or Errol Flynn and someone else. So on the whole a very enjoyable film. Then I lent it to my mother. Not seen it since.
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on 23 June 2013
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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on 12 June 2012
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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on 7 June 2013
The Artist has 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 trilogies. 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. 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 this movie 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 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.

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.

As this is a silent film, the good acting and miming were essential to making this film 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 this film 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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