Hollywood, 1927: As silent movie star George Valentin wonders if the arrival of talking pictures will cause him to fade into oblivion, he sparks with Peppy Miller, a young dancer set for a big break. [imdb]
Nominated for 10 Oscars:
Best Picture (WINNER)
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius (WINNER)
Best Actor: Jean Dujardin (WINNER)
Best Supporting Actress: Berenice Bejo
Best Original Screenplay
Best Original Score (WINNER)
Best Art Direction
Best Costume Design (WINNER)
This is a film I don't feel comfortable talking/writing about; the film itself is a dilemma for me, and also I have no idea how to judge it. If I judge it based on my experience while watching it, then it doesn't sit well at all. If I judge it based on my respect for it, based on my movie-knowledge and stuff like that - then I can easily admit The Artist is an achievement. But what's the right way to look at it?
I don't really like it for one simple reason: it's a silent film and it has all the problems that come with a silent film. Yes, the dog is adorable; Yes, Dujardin gives a wonderful performance, but this doesn't stop the film from looking like it's 60 minutes too long (which is bad for a 100 min film). It really was difficult to watch, and I often hoped it would end sooner; the story is nice, but, by respecting rules & cliches of silent films, it becomes quite predictable.
As I said, the work put into this film is impressive. I liked the direction much more than the film itself, I think Hazanavicius did a fine job, considering the film needed a lot of care for details - and it succeeds. I even liked the ending, which again is to he director's credit. Dujardin is wonderful and I kinda hope he wins on Oscar night. The music is nice and the dog is adorable.
But is it worthy of Best Picture? Probably not. In any other year, I suspect it wouldn't have been a front-runner and The King's Speech (another film I'm not a fan of) would've easily kicked its ass. But this is weak year, and somehow most Academy voters seem to embrace a black-and-white French-produced silent film. How this film got so far in the race is still a mystery to me.
My rating for the film: I have no idea... let's say 7/10*. It would've made a nice SHORT film.
***updated it to a 7, instead of a 6.5