The Artist is a mostly silent film about, yes, the end of the era of silent films. I was afraid that Jean Dujardin’s character, George Valentin, would descend into Norma Desmond territory, but fortunately not.
Valentin is the swash-buckling star of the silent film era. Accompanied everywhere by his charming dog, played convincingly by Uggie, Valentin appeals to all. He is suave, charming, and sophisticated-everything we need in a silent film star.
When Valentin’s studio, headed by Al Zimmer (John Goodman), decides to produce only talking pictures, Valentin is let go. He produces his own silent film, which opens the same week the stock market crashes. Things go from bad to worse for this unlucky star.
Valentin’s dog and his loyal chauffeur stand by him through his dark days. Also watching out for him is the rising film star Peppy Miller.
The acting in The Artist is pitch perfect. The silent film stars mug for the camera. The original score is lovely. John Goodman, the most familiar actor in this production, has amazing facial expressions . He really doesn’t need to say anything.
I highly recommend this very original film for anyone who likes movies.