The Artist is one of those rare films that will linger with you long after you leave the theatre. More than a week after seeing it, my mind still flashes back to the heroic deeds of Uggie the dog, to the melancholy and addiction that are the consequences of George Valentin’s committment to the purity of his art, and to the sparkly expressions of love exuded by Peppy Miller.
I will admit that I waited until after the film won the Oscar for best picture before I went to see it, but sitting in the theatre enveloped by the comforting glow of black and white on the big screen, I can understand why it did. With numerous awards from Cannes, BAFTA, César, and Oscar, the Artist is the most awarded French film in history. The film–although it is silent–is perfectly enriched by music, as well as by poetic and captivating cinematography, all of which is enhanced by a sparing yet tasteful use of written text at crucial moments.
The plot weaves itself through themes of cinema’s glory days, the roaring ’20′s, love’s unexpected dangerous chemical allure, the stock market crash, great depression, alcoholism, and tap dancing. The story is as memorable, if not more so, than the film’s distinctively refined style and polish, which sets it apart from every other film made in the present day.
Sometimes it pays to be different. As long as you do it well.