I’ve never given the Silent Picture a good look but “The Artist” by Michel Hazanavicius has definitely opened my eyes. this silent picture within a silent picture is a Hollywood melodrama combining “Sunset Boulevard” Beverly Hills style with “A Star is Born” storyline, loaded with cinematic and visual references. It’s beautifully filmed with great attention to detail in set design, props, costumes, and an evocative musical score by Ludovic Bource. The impossibly attractive characters, George Valentin and Peppy Miller, played by the impossibly  attractive actors Jean Dujardin (star of Havanavicius’ “OSS 117” series) and Bérénice Bejo (the real life wife of Hazanavicius), play out this story of his Hollywood Silent Film glory days fading while her star rises in the new “Talkies”. They meet cute (the big star helps out the eager newcomer) but don’t connect until George’s pride before and after the fall creates Peppy’s obsessive interest in protecting her former mentor after his disastrous refusal to accept cinematic progress. His only friend remains the incredibly talented terrier, “Dog” played by Uggie, who makes Rin Tin Tin look like a slacker. A few familiar faces acquit themselves nicely here. John Goodman plays the archetypical Hollywood mogul, Penelope Anne Milller as Doris, George’s unhappy wife, and James Cromwell (“That’ll do pig”) as Clifton, George’s forever loyal chauffeur. For those film goers tired of CGI mayhem “The Artist is a welcome look at the kind of bigger than life attraction that made the world line up to forget it’s troubles in those magnificent Movie Palaces of yesterday.

Rated PG-13

My GPA: 4.0

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