The crowd that gathered on the day of our viewing was the largest we have seen for a matinee movie in years. At first the audience was made up of some who may have been the last young-uns to see an original silent movie. Within minutes the theater was filling up with young college students right down to a few teenagers. It was obvious this film was attracting not only every age group but viewers from all walks of life.
Preparing for a long boring hour and forty minutes when the lights went dark, I snuggled into my seat thinking about opening my laptop and getting some work done while the reel rolls. Only moments into the film I was sinking deep into the story finding amazing humor coupled with drama and minuscule amount of dialogue.
Jack 'the dog' (Uggie) is a hit. He has several scenes and in each one he dominates over the actors. At the age of 10, Uggie is past his prime but pulls out all the stops to show off his strengths. Dogs and kids are the most difficult to work with according to W.C. Fields. Yet Uggie is a natural, stealing scenes while the actors play second fiddle realizing just how good he is.
Jack's owner, George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), relies on him for comfort when his career takes a downward spiral followed by the boot from his wife. After being a big shot for years on the silent screen, George now has to adjust to the life of sound. This is something he is unwilling to explore, as change is something he takes little part in. His star mentality borders God-like status. Underneath, his sweetness is abound, just escaping in small drizzle amounts.
Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) finds herself standing next to George on the red carpet while the paparazzi snap photos. One photo in particular is a smash hit on the cover of Vanity magazine with the headline reading, "Who's that Girl?". Later, while auditioning for a dancer position, she is noticed by George who puts demands on the studio boss at Kinograph Studios to hire Peppy in their next feature presentation.
Sometime later, after hard work and determination, Peppy begins gaining recognition while working a nonstop schedule. Peppy's career begins to soar while George's life on the silver screen is on the down-slide. This film will touch your heart while entertaining with timely set bouts of humor. Watching these two characters cross paths during different stages in each of their lives should give faith to those who struggle daily doing what they love to do whether it is a doctor, athlete, accountant, politician, musician or actor.
The filming in black & white in combination with approaching the story as if it were told during the height of silent films easily draws in the audience. Most audiences have not seen a silent film, so expectations are not very high, but this is not the reason it is a great film. The quality of the casting director to secure the best cast while the actors leave nothing to question after each scene is the foundation of the movie's greatness. The musical score is dead on throughout the film. The songs worked perfectly during the dance numbers as the choreography molded the two together. The Artist will exceed all expectations and set the bar in the movie industry for years to come.
The best film of 2011!!!!