Winning Best Picture in 2012, The Artist, quite literally, intentionally, has little to say about itself.
Shot in glorious black and white, director-writer Michel Hazanavicius has crafted an engaging tale of a silent film superstar, George Valentin (deftly played by Jean Dujardin), whose career seems shuttered with the advent of the “talkies”. Up-and-comer actor/dancer, delightfully named, Peppy Miller (given an exuberant take from Bérénice Bejo) gives the story verve and life.
After a chance encounter with Valentin—and a convenient photograph capturing the moment makes its way to the front page of Variety—Miller’s career is born.
Acting as the narrative’s glue between Valentin and Miller is Kinograph Studio’s mogul/producer Al Zimmer (John Goodman nails the role with a commanding look in every frame!).
But perhaps the finest performance of all comes in the furry form of Uggie—Valentin’s fearless and faithful dog who also makes many points without benefit of dialogue.
Like all good musicals (original score from Ludovic Bource; Fabien Ruiz choreographer), the plot doesn’t matter: it’s much more about movement and song.
And that’s my final word! JWR