(Image courtesy: http://www.soundonsight.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/the-artist-movie-poster-2011-10207010171.jpg)
I don’t always agree with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences when they dole out their awards once a year in the biggest glam-fest of Hollywood. I still love, love, LOVE watching the Oscars though, and religiously do so, setting my alarm clock so that I can catch the live telecast, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I agree with the choices.
But this time…oh, THIS time they were absolutely spot-bang-on! And how! I mean, a silent movie — in THIS day and age! And not just silent, but black-and-white and silent! Wow!
“The Artist” is a triumph! I just loved it! It was perfect in every which way!
The look, feel and emotions of the film — perfect.
Jean DuJardin as George Valentine — perfect.
Berenice Bejo as Peppy Miller — perfect.
James Cromwell as Clifton and John Goodman as Al Zimmer and even Penelope Ann Miller as George’s unhappy wife, Doris — perfect.
The direction by Michel Hazanavicius — perfect.
Twenties Hollywood — perfect!
The music — divine! (You thought I was going to say ‘perfect’, didn’t ya, didn’t ya? Well, gotchya!)
Uggie the doggie — adorable! (Gotchya again ;-D)
It’s a simple movie about a simpler time and what happens when simple starts to get complex. Is all change good? Can everyone be expected to change? What happens to those who don’t want to or can’t? Again, the answer is simple — they adapt.
Of course the movie is also about human egos and frailties. Thoughtless or flippant remarks made without thinking about their impact on another person. About remorse, love and making-up. About stars fading away and stars being born. About saying it all without saying a word.
There are no grand, complex plot lines which require a few stiff drinks or a puff on a special cigarette to help you work out what it is the film is trying to say. No crude theatrics. No gratuitous sex, violence or nudity…not even a tiny spark except for a certain hand gesture which our young have happily picked up thanks to Ranbir ‘Rockstar’ Kapoor. No fireworks…by which I mean SFX of the ‘Avatar’ and ‘Transformers’ modules; no, not even of the ‘Ben-Hur’ calibre.
It’s a clean movie. It’s a simple movie. It’s a sweet, solid, touching movie. Jean DuJardin is classic, b’n’w, old Hollywood handsome and his smile just makes you want to be his toothbrush! (and ummm, I do mean that in a sexy-cat way, of course). And Berenice Bejo! Oh she just lights up the screen with her presence with such a mobile face that exhibits a hundred-and-fifty different emotions a minute! She looked the part of the quintessential flapper girl of the twenties and her eyes spoke such volumes that I almost forgave her for having a body shape that I last had when I was six-years-old.
Granted I haven’t seen Martin Scorcece’s ‘Hugo’ or Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris’ (which, something tells me, I’m going to love, own and claim as ‘made for me’) or even ‘The Descendants’ by Alexander Payne, but I loved ‘The Artist’ from start to finish and I think it was definitely worthy of an Oscar.
Yes, I know I’m a soppy, sentimentalist, but so, it would seem, is Michel Hazanavicius and the voting jury of the 84th Academy Awards.
Go on. Give the movie a shot. It might surprise you. It certainly did my husband.