The Artist Review: The Best Drama Of 2011

After seeing The Artist it wasn’t difficult to understand why the film has received so much award season buzz. The silent film received six nominations including Best Musical or Comedy, Best Actor Musical and Best Supporting Actress Musical. Michel Hazanavicius also received a nomination for Best Director, and the movie is also up for Best Screenplay and Best Original Score. But… let me put my two cents in here… I don’t agree with the category of Best Musical or Comedy at all. Sure the film has a brilliant score, but it’s not a musical nor a comedy. The Artist should have been nominated under Best Drama.

I have to admit that while being a movie buff, I’ve stuck to films from mostly the 1950’s onward. I had never seen a silent film before this one, and I had no idea what to expect or if I would even like it. However, The Artist had me completely enchanted after only twenty minutes. Not only was it a lovely story of finding yourself after losing your life’s work, but it was a testament to the creativity in Hollywood. The Artist was a risky film to release in a era dominated by impressive special effects and rigorous sound editing. Yet the simplicity of the film is exactly what the viewer loses their self in.

The Artist is set in Hollywood in 1927. George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is a huge star on the silver screen. Tinseltown has been dominated by silent films up until this time, yet all of that is about to change. A young extra named Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) has the charm to win you over with just a glance, and as Hollywood begins the transition over to embracing sound, she soon finds herself becoming a famous female lead. Valentin hasn’t been as anxious to embrace the new trend though, and he soon finds it taking a toll on his career and his finances as the Great Depression hits. However, there is a friendship between these two that has steady grown since their first chance encounter in 1927, and you know that a brilliant love story awaits them.

The acting was superb in this film. When you don’t have words to rely on, voices to hear, or tones to read – it can be challenging to convey the emotion you feel to the audience. However, Berenice Bejo and Jean Dujardin do an incredibly job with just their expressions and mere glances. I would venture to say that the film truly feels like a film from the late 20’s – in fact I’d love to hear your thoughts on it if you’ve seen it.

The Artist quite simply stole my heart. It’s rare to see a film that reminds you of how much can be said without saying anything at all. The beauty and passion that lies in just one look can convey novels, and that’s exactly what this film did. It is, without question, the best film of 2011.

Grade: A+
Review By: Emma Loggins

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  1. To quote you, “The movie stole my heart.” That sums it up perfectly. I have seen many, many silent movies, but this still seemed so fresh and new. The ironic thing to me was the fact that, although there was no dialogue to hear, the audience in the theater with me was completely quiet and attentive to everything on the screen. I loved it!

  2. I was thrilled to see the trailer for this. I have seen some of the original silent films, and I’m excited that someone would revive this style of storytelling. Of course, I should mention that they are not the first filmmakers to produce a silent film since the advent of sound. They’ve just obviously done an outstanding job that has garnered a lot of attention.