UK Release date: 30th December 2011
Watched at the cinema Saturday 18th February 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
Having gained some notoriety, and seven BAFTA’s including Best Director and Best Film, my local cinema decided to finally show ‘The Artist’. I had resigned myself to a DVD (or TV) viewing at some point in the future, but those nice people at ‘The Picture House’ came through for me. I must say I was impressed with the film, despite being silent, in black and white and in a 4:3 aspect ratio it still had some great performances and a great story (& that’s the important bit Hollywood!). I will give you my thoughts after this brief summary.
George Valentin is a very successful silent film star; adored by his fans, he makes epic adventures with his ever-faithful dog by his side. After the premiere of his latest film in 1927 he literally bumps into a young actress called Peppy Miller. George’s boss, Al Zimmer, is less than pleased when it is her picture on the front of all the papers the following day. Peppy gets a job as an extra at George’s studio and he ends up giving her her first big break. They go their separate ways and she goes from strength to strength. Meanwhile, Al Zimmer wants to embrace the new technology; talking pictures. George does not think it will catch on and is against it. But eventually the studio puts all its efforts into the ‘talkies’ and George is left out in the cold. What follows is his sad decline, but more than one person is looking out for him. I will leave it there or the Spoiler Police (Silent Division) will sneak up and arrest me without making a sound.
Very well made with a beautiful musical score by Ludovic Bource, it really set the tone and held the film together brilliantly. The performances were all excellent, I guess acting in silent films is not an art that’s practiced a lot these days, but everyone did a great job! In particular the leading characters; Jean Dujardin as George Valentin and Bérénice Bejo as Peppy Miller. Also worthy of note were; John Goodman as Al Zimmer, James Cromwell as Clifton, Penelope Ann Miller as Doris and there’s a brief appearance from Malcolm McDowell as The Butler. Oh, and I mustn’t forget Georges faithful canine Uggie as The Dog.
I found this film a breath of fresh air; it took me back to Saturday morning TV when they used to show the odd silent movie. A simple love story with some great acting and a brilliant musical score really hit the mark (for me). I did find, though, that George’s decline went on a little too long, just when you thought he’d hit bottom there was a little further to go. But that’s the only criticism I have, it’s beautifully made in the style of the time and, although it may not be for everyone, it’s still one I have no problem in deeming… Recommended.
My score: 8.6/10.
IMDb Score: 8.4/10 (based on 28,029 votes when this review was written).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 97/100 (based on 191 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 91/100 (based on 24,406 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
George Valentin: With pleasure.
Doris: I'm unhappy.
George Valentin: So are millions of us.
George Valentin: Look at what you've become. You've become proud! You've become stupid!
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://weinsteinco.com/sites/the-artist/static.html