Hollywood 1927. George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is a silent movie superstar. The advent of the talkies will sound the death knell for his career and see him fall into oblivion. For young extra Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo), it seems the sky’s the limit – major movie stardom awaits. THE ARTIST tells the story of their interlinked destinies.
“The Artist” is being lauded as being an excellent film and I can tell you, it deserves the accolades. It is funny, amusing, dramatic, well-acted, and features a character who goes from a great lifestyle to poverty and, sad to say, there are those in today’s economy who just may sympathize with the story.
The two leads, Jean Dujardin as George Valentin, and Bérénice Bejo as Peppy Miller, are terrific. Jean Dujardin’s George Valentin mugs for the camera, admires his own portrait at home in a charismatic way which is humorous, and can also dance up a storm. Bérénice Bejo gives us a character who is feminine through and through, a bit on the flirtatious side, has a heart the size of a theater when she sees George’s character in need and, like George, she can dance like few can. This is a story that comes full circle as George helps give Peppy a big break in the movies and, like “A Star is Born”, her star shines brighter and brighter while his begins to dim with the introduction of the talkies. He has been a silent film star and doesn’t believe he can make the switch to talkies, nor does he wish to. On top of this, the Stock Market Crash of 1929 hits his interests hard. It is quite a comparison to see his palatial mansion only to see the ugly dive he winds up in later on. Yet the story comes full circle when, at his lowest moment, Peppy gives George a break which helps him turn the corner.
You might laugh and cry and even clap at the ending of this film, which is exactly what the audience did which I screened this film with. “The Artist” is really what a good movie is all about, a good story about the compassionate spirit some humans display when it is most needed. It is entertaining and dramatic and features excellent performances from John Goodman and James Cromwell as well as the leads. And, we are most pleased to announce, it is family-friendly as well, and we recommend it for ages twelve plus. We are pleased to award our Dove Seal to “The Artist”. It is, indeed, a masterpiece.