Nick Starkey, Editorial Board
Set in the late twenties and early thirties, a time when the silent film was being completely overshadowed by the “talkie,” The Artist shows the fall of a silent film actor as he struggles to accept that sound films are the way that movies are made. The idea of a silent film in 2012 is shocking, but with a combination of great acting, a marvelous script, and a score that fills the void of talking, The Artist is easily the best film of this year.
The story of The Artist is simple enough, the most rounded silent film star, George Valentin, played by Jean Dujardin, is the talk of Hollywood. He continues to make hit after hit. Then, when the first sound films, or “talkies,” start to be more and more popular, George refuses to be a part of what he thinks is a passing fad. When everyone stops making silent films, George loses all his money, and is forced to sell all of his possessions.
Dujardin does an excellent job of expressing the feelings of Valentin, especially when there are very few words to work with. The audience can really feel for the loss of the star’s career. Berenice Bejo plays Peppy Miller, a rising star of the talkie world. Miller worked with Valentin during one of his final performances. This makes an interesting arc of the fall of Valentin, and the rise of Miller.
The score of the film really sets the mood for most of the scenes during the movie. When a character is expressing sadness, the music is very melancholy and makes the audience realize the character’s emotions. One very interesting thing about watching a silent film is the fact that there are no words. The score of the movie isn’t just in the background where it barely can be heard, it’s front and center, making it become like another character itself.
Another very curious thing about the silent picture experience is that every sound the audience makes can be heard. Every laugh, every gasp. This makes the film seem more raw. It gives the movie a lot more depth.
Overall, The Artist is a must see and delivers powerhouse performances by the actors. The Artist definitely deserves the Rosie for Best Picture.