The Artist is a magnifique love letter to the art of film

I’m speechless. I’m blown away. I cried buckets. I’ve just seen THE ARTIST.

Words are what THE ARTIST is all about but words almost cannot describe how wonderful it is. Tons of critics have already hailed this truly imaginative film as the picture of the year and I’m joining them.

I did a preview of THE ARTIST in December 2011 before it had even opened in the UK and now I’ve seen it, I can’t imagine all the awards going this year to any more deserving movie that this. One that celebrates the art of film itself – a peerless homage to silent movies and the advent of sound that changed the industry forever. The way that sound is slowly introduced in the film – from sound effects to singing and finally speech – is exquisite and the mark of the really gifted film-maker.

Berenice Bejo as Peppy and Jean Dujardin as George in The Artist

Berenice Bejo as Peppy and Jean Dujardin as George

But where do you really start in trying to describe how fantastic this movie is? With the dog, of course! Uggie, the canine supporting star, has got his fair share of press and he’s pretty terrific but nowhere near as brilliant as the two humans leading this story. Jean Dujardin is breathtaking as silent movie icon George Valentin, all puffed up pride about his place in the world at the start of the film but when his star falls, his face agonisingly displays the tragedy that he could be heading towards.

And Berenice Bejo is completely his equal as the rising talkie smash hit Peppy Miller, gauche and beaming with happiness, to begin with, that only seems to return when she can help Valentin and for the rest of the time, even though she’s the toast of ‘Hollywoodland’ as it’s then called, her eyes are filled with the sadness of what she’s destroyed. Their relationship, from initial surprise meeting to a possible redemptive conclusion, is the heart of this most extraordinary romantic musical/ comedy/drama – one surely never to be bettered.

The most praise, however, must be given to the really gifted film-maker I mentioned a moment ago – writer/director Michel Hazanavicius. What a beautiful vision he’s created. He persevered in the face of people telling him he was making a movie no one wanted to see – hell, yes we do! And its got a tap-dancing sequence to die for, so what more could you want?

There’s not much else to say, except go and see this astonishing movie and once you have, you’ll know what I’m talking about.