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Movie Review – The Artist (2011 – France)

Updated on April 25, 2012

Honored by The Academy for very good reasons!

(The Artist is the winner of the 2012 Oscar for Best Picture, Best Art Design, Best Direction, and its star, Jean DuJardin, won Best Actor in a Leading Role.)

What a delight this picture is, and what a surprise! I’m a huge fan of a number of silent era films as well as of black and white cinematography, so I looked forward very much to seeing The Artist , which is silent and shot in lovely black and white. But at the same time I was worried that it would make fun of the old movies I adore. I had nothing to worry about, it turns out, because this movie pays loving homage to film history while at the same time feeling as fresh and charming as Berenice Bejo's Peppy Miller, the film’s leading lady.

A must see for film buffs

Jean Dujardin plays George Valentin, the biggest star of the silver—and silent—screen in 1927. The tentative beginnings of the sound era fail to impress him, and his refusal to even attempt the transition to talkies threatens to end his career. The story line spins out against the grim reality of the Great Depression, and it’s told beautifully with a combination of gestural acting much toned-down from the style of the real silent era, and a lot more title cards than they had, as well. It works perfectly, aided by the talent of the cast (including a wonderful terrier named Uggy), terrific set design and direction that pays homage to a plethora of classic movies. There is a tip of the hat to the breakfast montage from Citizen Kane , the staircase from Fritz Lang;s Spies , a taste of the fencing magic of Errol Flynn, Hitchcock’s trademark camera angles—the list is impressive but never hits us over the head. It’s fun, and it’s there if you wish to see it, but the film can easily stand on its own merits.


Watch the trailer for The Artist:

Uggie, a wonderful companion and great canine actor


Special mention needs to go to both Uggy the terrier, and the wonderful score by Ludovic Bource. It’s impossible to imagine this picture working without either.

Highly recommended.

Copyright © Roberta Lee 2012. All rights reserved.

(I am an artist and the author of the Suburban Sprawl series of novels as well as two nonfiction books. Find out more about my work at

You might also enjoy these great romantic comedies to watch right now:

The Artist:

Rating: PG - 13, 1 hr. 40 min.

Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy

Directed By: Michel Hazanavicius

Written By: Michel Hazanavicius

In Theaters: Nov 25, 2011 Limited

Box Office: $12.1M

Distributed By: The Weinstein Company


Jean Dujardin - George Valentin

Berenice Bejo - Peppy Miller

John Goodman - Al Zimmer

James Cromwell - Clifton

Penelope Ann Miller - Doris

Do you like silent era films?

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    • DIYmyOmy profile image

      DIYmyOmy 5 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      I hope you enjoy it even *half* as much as I did! :-)

    • tschaunerb profile image

      tschaunerb 5 years ago from Medicine Hat

      Oh, now i am just gonna have to see it.

      *stomps off*

    • DIYmyOmy profile image

      DIYmyOmy 5 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Thank you! I find that if a movie is really good or really bad a review is easy to write. It's those so-so ones that are difficult.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 5 years ago

      Short and direct to the point about this film, as I couldn't agree with you more. This truly is one of the best films out there. Great job on writing this review. :)