Movie review: Respect for silent film, The Artist

February 1, 2012 5:59 PMComments Off

Kocer is a first-year magazines and English major and can be contacted at stephanie.kocer@drake.edu

If you have been watching the award buzz in the media lately, then you have probably heard about the film taking home all of the awards. Of course, I’m talking about “The Artist.” It is a black and white silent film. I know what you’re thinking because I thought about it at first, too. Who in their right mind, in this century, would go to a silent movie?

Believe it or not, silence really is golden. This movie was actually very good. It proves something that old Hollywood already figured out a long time ago. You don’t need talking to make a good movie. Although I really appreciate the movies we have today, it was nice to sit back and enjoy something that paid tribute to the legendary movie business. It was not hard to follow the storyline or what the actors were trying to convey at all. The music in the film is great, too. It guides the plot along perfectly and has the right amount of “bubbliness” when the scene is happy, and the right amount of intensity when the scene is heavy. I promise, you will stay engaged with “The Artist” the whole time.

“The Artist” stars Jean Dujardin as George Valentin, a silent film actor in the late 1920s. As the ‘20s come to a close and the Great Depression sinks in, movies are taking a turn, too. Silent is out and talking is in. Valentin, however, believes that silent films are an art and refuses to make a film that he will talk in. Peppy Miller, on the other hand, has just come into the movie business and is embracing the new talkies. Miller, played by Bérénice Bejo, and Valentin become friends, and she helps him realize that movies will always be an art, and that he can still make his art and talk at the same time. Then there is the real star of the movie, Uggie. The lovable Jack Russell terrier steals every scene he is in. He isn’t just there to be cute, either. He saves the day a couple of times.

I really judged this movie wrong when I first heard about it. It isn’t hard to watch a silent film at all. You will come out of the theater and have a new respect for the movie industry and the way films have evolved throughout the rich history of the business. “The Artist” should be right up there with the top award contenders. Although I am more partial to “The Help” or “The Descendants” (by the way, see those movies, too) for a Best Picture Oscar, I still think “The Artist” deserves a lot of recognition. It is different, and it gets your attention, which is true of all the great award winning movies that came before it (yes, those black and white silent ones, too). I recommend that you go and see this movie. Luckily, “The Artist” is showing right now at the Varsity Theater. So, hurry and go because you don’t get many opportunities to see a film like this, especially during award season. You also don’t get very many opportunities to see a dog as cute as Uggie in a leading role.

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