I don’t usually write movie reviews, although I do love movies and film. I enjoy personally critiquing them with friends and family (sometimes to their annoyance). I often find I do not always concur with the professional critics. A movie they might slobber over I will hate (“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” is an example: while I really like Gary Oldman, this movie bored me to tears), and one that is ravaged…well, it all depends. I’ve enjoyed films that got mediocre to bad reviews. Some stupid fun movies are just that: stupid fun movies.
“The Artist” is not stupid. It is a stylish, brave creative attempt at movie making, IMHO.
There is nothing razzle-dazzle in the movie except for the acting, directing and editing. Yes, the screenplay as well…but, with “The Artist” being a Silent Movie (well, primarily), you are more involved with the two main actors and the whole chutzpah going on. No quick cuts; no explosions; no nudity; nothing, in my mind, gratuitous.
The musical score moves you along, giving the emotional feel to the actor’s facial and body nuances. There is nothing out of line. If you miss some of it, the director masterfully strews “clues” throughout the film: newspaper headlines and article leads; movie marquee’s and store signs; and I’m sure there were more drops that I missed.
French actors Bérénice Bejo and Jean Dujardin star, and are both enticing. It’s a love story to old Hollywood(land), to movie making, and one between their two characters.
****SEMI SPOILERS AHEAD: Pass this section if you plan to see the movie****
It is also about fame, pride, and self worth. Hitting the years of the silent film heyday through the Wall Street crash and into the sound era of films, we follow the ups and downs of the main characters. While I enjoyed the joie de vivre of the beginning of the film, it took a dark turn that struck home to our current economic predicaments. Loss of jobs, older “seasoned” individuals being replaced by either machines or “new faces” (=cheaper labor), and what to do with your life when you see yourself as a failure/loser, or are just put out to pasture…in all the cinema landscape, the last time I felt this “truth” on film is from Preston Sturgess’s “Sulivan’s Travels” (one of my favorite movies). The one thing I’m not crazy about: how our “hero” finds his way out of his predicament: it’s not really his finding, but being led by another. That was, to me, a bit unsatisfying.
****End of Spoilers*****
So…yes, “The Actor” is worth seeing, and it should be playing in more theaters. I feel if you like great acting, quirky characters from another era, comedy/tragedy, dancing, innocence (in a way), some brutal truths, and LOVE….then yes, go see it.