Delightful celebration of the bygone age of silent cinema, starring Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo
The Artist has in-built appeal for movie buffs who believe that the arrival of talking pictures was one of the worst things that ever happened to an art form that had found a universal language in the visual poetry of the late silent era. The Artist doesn’t just embody an esoteric longing for a bygone age, it is a joyous, impeccably crafted crowdpleaser that melds the tried and tested plot of A Star Is Born to the comic exuberance of Singin’ In The Rain. It is impossible not to fall for its charms.
A labour of love for writer-director Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist is a black and white, silent comedy set in the Hollywood of the late 1920s and early 1930s where swashbuckling matinee idol George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) finds his star fading just as ambitious extra Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) becomes the new sensation of the age. Dujardin has all the swaggering exuberance and conceit of Douglas Fairbanks, but he is also a deft physical comic and a pretty terrific tap dancer. Factor in a scene-stealing dog called Uggy and you have one of the most unexpectedly delightful films of the past year.
General release from Fri 6 Jan.