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Review: The Artist (2011)

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A throwback. An ode to a bygone era. A love letter to cinema. The Artist has been called all of these things, but would it be enough to match my combined excitement/skepticism? As a lover of the silent film, I was looking forward to a modern version of the lost medium. I think the 5 Oscar wins answer that question nicely.

The Artist follows in the footsteps of Singing in the Rain and shows the life of silent movie star George Valentin (Jean Dujardin). He is at the top of his game, but the invention of the talkies is the start of his impending doom. On the other side of things, there is Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo), a young go-getter who starts off as a background dancer and works her way to the stop. A chance encounter near the beginning of the movie shows the chemistry the two have. As the film progresses, the two stars careers rise and fall in opposite directions. You see the slow destruction of one life and the one time starry eyed fan become a star herself.

No one can claim that The Artist came up with an original plot, however you can accuse it of being a gimmick. Before seeing it, I too wasn’t sure if this was worth all of the hype surrounding it. But after proper viewing, I can say that the Artist is a legitimately great film worthy of the awards heaped upon it. It was reminiscent, not corny. Funny, not cheesy. Melodramatic, but in a good way. It takes a very original way of telling its story, and is a once a decade type of movie, just for the originality of the idea. I went to see it with 4 others who couldn’t tell Chaplin apart from Keaton, but they all loved it. No words necessary.

My Rating: A


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