Chandler, Arizona, United States

There's an old saying. If you don't want someone to join a crowd, you ask them, "If everyone were jumping off of a cliff, would you?" Well, I have. So my answer would be "Yes". True story.
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Review of The Artist

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

this entry brought to you by portishead, "glory box"

Sometimes as the year closes and Oscar chatter begins in earnest, there is a movie that is clearly the favorite to win Best Picture. And as December arrives, another movie will show up in those final few weeks that immediately garners critical praise and suddenly blows past the favorited movie and sweeps the Oscars in the blink of an eye. There is inevitably a backlash against this movie, and its not difficult to see why-- audiences had gotten used to the idea of the front runner getting its due, probably had time to even see the movie, and yet this newcomer sweeps everything without most people even having a chance to see it.

That happened with The Artist, and often when we watch these movies a few years later, with the juggernaut of hype now gone, we find that perhaps they weren't as good as the Academy had felt at the time. I went into The Artist knowing this, but came away having loved every second of it.

A silent film about silent films in their last days as talkies overtook Hollywood, main character George Valentin (played by Jean DuJardin with Gary Cooper-like dash and panache, as if lifted exactly from the period) is one of the stubborn types you've heard of from that era, foolishly sinking his life savings into one last epic silent film. Then there's the plucky up and comer, played by the positively adorable Berenice Bejo, who was given an unexpected leg up by Valentin in her early days, and is now a star of the talkie era.

As things get worse for the hero, the acting turns from a mugging, over the top tone of those early films to something more natural, and although it never would be called realistic, it feels like the film itself is coming down to earth as the world around him collapses. The last act of the film could only be referred to as "feel good", and while it's not the deepest of films, sometimes one needs a feel good movie in one's life. The Artist is as much a celebration of Hollywood's golden years as it is a celebration of America itself, as it takes a small but beautiful turn at its very end, revealing to the audience just how wonderful this country, at its best, can be.

with love from CRS @ 1:37 PM 


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