Okay, I love my guilty pleasure shows like the best of them (see my future paper entitled, “The Kardashians: Austen’s Bennett Family of the 21st Century?”).
But if you want to watch something truly entertaining, lovely, and powerful, put down that remote and go see The Artist.
The film follows a silent film star, George Valentin, through the changing landscape of Hollywood in the late ‘20s, early ‘30s. As the miracle of sound hits the cinema and movies become “talkies,” we watch Valentin struggle as his celebrity status turns to obscurity.
Supported by the adorable new Hollywood darling, Peppy Miller, and a particularly loyal canine, Valentin must find a new role for himself in a world that is quickly changing, with or without him.
Yes, The Artist is in black and white, and it’s mostly silent (a fact that made two fellow movie-goers leave the theatre after the first 5 minutes). But these features actually enhance the film, highlighting the performances, direction, and script that are both hilarious and moving.
By employing both classic and modern cinematic techniques, The Artist at once celebrates the medium and lovingly pokes fun at it with cutesy winks to the camera and silly minstrel gags.
It highlights the pain, the comedy, the necessity of innovation and transition, not only in the film industry, but in technology, and in life in general (much like fellow Oscar-contender, Hugo).
It toes the line between realism and stylistic illusion in a way that will impress both the analytic film student and the couple desiring some fun, light-hearted entertainment on date night.
And did I mention it contains the most adorable dog in the world and a healthy dose of tap dancing?
The result is a piece of art (no pun intended) that can still entertain and touch a mainstream audience; an impressive feat, indeed!