The Artist - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Artist Reviews

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May 20, 2019
Films like this that glorify people who make movies while glamorizing a previous age in which films were more relevant to people's lives and Hollywood was more glamorous are catnip to the Academy and the connection to Harvey Weinstein only makes the film's Best Picture win feel more icky. Yes, I was charmed by the film but it's plot was slight and as it borrowed familiar emotional beats from Singin' in the Rain (1952) and A Star Is Born (1937) I couldn't help thinking I would rather be watching those films instead. While I can appreciate the historical importance of films like City Lights (1931) I don't believe that their humor holds up today and the use of outdated slapstick humor failed to elicit any laughs in me. My dislike of the film is largely spurred on by the fact that it was considered better than any film released in 2011, one of my favorite years in cinema history, when it's simply not.

It's 1927 and George Valentin, Jean Dujardin, is a major silent film star who is married to the uptight Doris, Penelope Ann Miller, when he meets rising ingï¿ 1/2 (C)nue Peppy Miller, Berenice Bejo, who he helps to become a star. She becomes a major actress as sound films are popularized while Valentin's career is left in the dust as nobody is willing to see his films anymore. She does the classic A Star Is Born routine as she attempts to rescue the washed up man whose fame she has now succeeded but he vehemently refuses to change despite her kindness. In the end they make a sound film together, a musical what's more and we get to find out that actually they're French! How sophisticated.

I have no issue with films borrowing from or echoing other iconic films from a different era but I expect them to put their own spin on these tropes or comment on them in some way. Mystic Pizza (1988) isn't a great film, it's better than this one, but it does reference the iconic romantic comedy It Happened One Night (1934) as we see two of the main characters hitchhiking and instead of Julia Roberts attracting a driver through exposing her ankles we see her boyfriend pull down his pants and attract a female driver. That scene showed how society had changed as women revealing a little skin was no longer shocking or titillating but a young man revealing himself was socially acceptable. The Artist simply takes great moments from classic silent films and films about the time period and cuts and pastes them into this film overlaying a different score and including film stars like John Goodman and Penelope Ann Miller in the fun.

The performances of the leads also felt dull to me because having recently seen Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927) I could recognize what a good silent film performance looked like and Bejo and Dujardin were not hitting the mark. They smiled like idiots throughout and their dancing and old timey acting managed to irk me instead or charming me as it did when Debbie Reynolds was doing a similar thing in Singin' in the Rain. I wasn't rooting for the two to be together as I didn't like him, he was an ignorant sap, and despite her determination I couldn't respect her because she seemed to love him for no reason. Feeling either apathy or anger for the main characters in the film is never a good sign and because I watched Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) in the same day, which handles it's characters beautifully, I was able to fully realize how poorly this film is made.

The positives of the film are the cinematography and the score. Guillaume Schiffman's work is reminiscent of that Gunther Rittau in The Blue Angel (1930) as he captures the luminous face of Bejo and the darkness of Dujardin's downfall with crisp close-ups. Ludovic Bource's score is lovely as it carries us along on an adventure and reaches crescendos that were close to those of An American in Paris (1951). Unfortunately the rest of the film wasn't as good as these two elements.

I wouldn't recommend this film but I would argue that there are many 2011 films that were deserving of the Best Picture Award. The Tree of Life (2011) would probably be my choice but I also love Margaret (2011) and The Descendants (2011).
½ May 14, 2019
I can't think of anything more courageous, than to make a silent movie in the 21st century. "The Artist" is an excellent period drama and love-letter to cinema's silent era.
April 10, 2019
A 2011 silent black & white film with French actors at the helm ... Okay, so that may not be the best way to sell a movie to the masses. However, this is an exception that I feel everyone should see and go into with a clean slate. It was nominated for 11 Academy Awards (of which it won five).

It's as close to a modern day classic as you can get; it tells the story of films' transition from the silent era to "talkies" and the downfall of some of films greatest silent actors because of it (in the early days of film, it didn't matter what you sounded like or if you could deliver a line. It was all about your presence on screen. With the advent of "talkies" that all changed).

If you like the idea of a movie about movies, then I would suggest the following as other options for you as well: The Purple Rose of Cairo, Cinema Paradiso, Peeping Tom, Sunset Blvd., Man with a Movie Camera, The Player, Singin' in the Rain, Ed Wood.
½ March 24, 2019
I was under the impression that the Artist was going to be a soft, joyous film about movie stars hopping around and showing the "magic" of silent films. I was pleasantly surprised when I found that there was a lot of depth and emotion put into this film. There are very dark, fiery moments as George descends from his role as a star to a forgotten actor. There is amazing chemistry between the two leads that goes beyond tapping together on stage. It's serious and deep and you see that. The lead actress is magnetic in this film. My favorite moments were towards the end when he burned his old films and was contemplating death towards the end because it showed the depths of his despair. A very smart, creative ode to older cinema. There are many references to older movies like Citizen Kane, Sunset Boulevard and several others probably.
March 12, 2019
There's a reason movie studios switched to "Talkies" from silent films. THEY ARE MORE FUN TO WATCH! Why go back to the dark ages for the sake of being quaint and retro? I found the lack of sound in The Artist incredibly annoying and the movie itself quite tedious.

Rating: F
March 9, 2019
A slight movie with engaging cast.
½ February 25, 2019
One of the worst movies I had seen in my entire líder
February 25, 2019
I watched this again on TV and, although it was a little diminished on the small screen, its charm and originality still shone through. A classic, and more deserving of its Oscar than all the winners that followed.
December 16, 2018
Meh, not as impressed as most people. Not my style.
December 12, 2018
Almost universally panned by everybody who didn't see it, The Artist is actually a very well done and thought provoking film even though it may have snuck off with the best picture Oscar
December 5, 2018
Most obvious and deserving Best Picture winner of a generation.
November 27, 2018
5/5. The Artist is a charming film and a technical marvel. It's a fascinating film to watch and it's extremely entertaining.
November 16, 2018
Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond quote: "We didn't need dialogue. We had faces!" from "Sunset Boulevard." "The Artist" isn't shown by people who wanna watch movies like 'movies' but this is one of the perfect films if you understand what the essence of the film really is. People don't like the format so they think it's cheap. Behind the overrated which wipe out various awards, this is more stylized than other color films. We don't need dialogue, the gesture is enough to tell the story. Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo are like two characters with reciprocity, are interconnected, inspire each other, so are the actors. Michel Hazanavicius' cinematography is a unique achievement and enchantment. "The Artist" imitating an art in a movie. A silent film which is more than that.
½ November 13, 2018
Silence speaks!! Rare film with something special.
Super Reviewer
September 24, 2018
This lovely and poetic homage from our days to Cinema and to the Golden Age of Hollywood silent movies is proof that a silent black-and-white film with a 4:3 aspect ratio can be so much better than many modern talkies, with wonderful performances by Dujardin, Bejo and Uggy the dog.
August 3, 2018
The Artist captures the charm of silent films along with a feel-good story yet effective look of the time period. There are great performances (even though they don't talk), visual wonder, and a delightful tone. I hlghly recommend seeing this one.
½ July 18, 2018
The plot was as simple as an old Turkish movie but I really loved the idea and the cast and the acting so I enjoyed it quite much. The dance score at the end is top notch!
½ July 8, 2018
Who knew a silent romance made in the modern era could turn out this good. The movie is everything a romantic comedy needs to be. It is right balance of sweetness, fun and sadness. A well deserved Oscar win, this one!
June 22, 2018
June 20, 2018
An excellent throwback film, and I really can't find any real flaws. I just don't understand all of the praise it's getting despite being a movie that could have (and certainly has) been made over 80 years ago.
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