Sunday, February 05, 2012

The Artist

Having been nominated for (and won!) a plethora of awards this year, I was quite looking forward to seeing The Artist. I am here to inform you that the hype is warranted. I absolutely fell in love with this creative and poignant motion picture.

The Artist chronicles silent film star George Valentin's fall from grace as Hollywood is invaded by the 'talkies' while he is rendered obsolete. Peppy Miller, the fan-turned-actress with whom George shares a flirtation, has managed to transfer her talents over to speaking roles. The gap between them proves a difficult one to breach. Throughout the narrative George is accompanied by his adorable terrier (played by canine superstar Uggie). Watching their entertaining antics was a highlight of the film for me. But then, I clearly have a soft spot for feisty terriers.

I admit I was a bit apprehensive about seeing a silent film -- despite hearing rave reviews that assured me its charm needed no verbal translation. I've built my life around words! I needn't have worried. Viewers quickly adapt to gleaning dialogue from the title cards. In fact, I was amazed at how much more I noticed when not distracted by dialogue. Facial expressions, sets, costumes: these all provided added layers of meaning and insight, and I was forced to take notice. It's almost a lesson in subtextuality. Both hilarious and heart-warming, The Artist is a cinematic treat. I'll be rooting for it throughout awards season!

P.S. I highly recommend watching Uggie's appearance on Ellen. He has so much character!

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