Faith in the Film: The Artist, 2011

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In honor of The Artist winning the 2012 Golden Globe for Best Comedy/Musical (and therefore beating my favorite movie 50/50), I’m going to review it. Now, I’ve never done a movie review before, but for some reason I think silent film has more in common with fine art than normal film. I’m not saying it’s better or worse, but just that you have to read deeper into it because nobody’s telling you anything. But that’s just my opinion. Hopefully it will make my transition to movie reviewing slightly easier. (And don’t worry, I won’t spoil it for those of you who’ve yet to see it:) Wish me luck!

The Artist movie poster. Photo from heyuguys.co.uk.

For some reason, I had a tremendous amount of faith in this movie. I had only heard rave reviews from every online news source along with my friends who had already seen it, so I knew everything would work out for the best in the end. Even though in the middle there it got kind of crazy. I don’t mean that as a spoiler; my faith in the movie actually made the whole experience better because I never got frustrated with the plot since I knew it would all work out in the end. The whole idea of the film was interesting. In an age of 3-D television and instant streaming, the thought of creating a silent film that anyone would be able to sit through must have seemed so far off. But it did more than entertain. It provoked thought by telling the story of the last silent film star. The whole movie being silent just felt like a giant metaphor for the protagonist’s unwillingness to speak on screen. And the fact that there was no dialogue made the written words that you actually had to read that much more important. The very first words that indicated dialogue read something along the lines of, “I won’t speak!” as a part of a scene from the first silent film we see our protagonist starring in. He’s the one saying it, and he’ll be saying it for the remainder of the film in a different context. But his journey is saddening and mysterious. He’s fading, but it’s hard to understand why he doesn’t make the transition to talkies when offered the opportunity. That’s where having faith in the film came in handy. I knew there had to be a good explanation. Which made it easier to connect and sympathize with him as he struggled. Plus, his dog managed to be more talented than adorable, a pretty difficult feat.

Screen shot. Photo from thesun.co.uk.

One of my favorite parts of the movie was his relationship with the girl who’s career he had to see flower while his faded, Peppy Miller. She’s too adorable not to love, and she clearly loves him in some kind of way too. But whether or not their love is romantic is never really made explicit. In most movies, this would have been annoying because I’d usually be hoping for them to get married and settle down, but the difference in their ages made it more appropriate that they just left that part out. She is obviously fascinated with him in the beginning, and it seems romantic-ish, but he doesn’t really treat her like that (more like a child than anything else) and their lips don’t touch once. When he stays with her, he sleeps in a separate room. And she has a boyfriend. Although this poster I found makes it seem more romantic than I picked up on, she’s still smiling as opposed to leaning in for the kiss. But he does seem just a tad too old to be with Peppy, who looks like she could be 17 at the start of the movie. Plus, I bet they’re much better at dancing together than they would be at kissing.

GD Star Rating
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