6PR - Fairfax Radio Network

What we're talking about

  • John Forbes on Paul Murray Retires Hi PaulGee Whiz I'm going to miss you informative show. more
  • Dellas on Gough Whitlam dead at 98 What great social change has Colin Barnett ever made?Did he stop conscription? Did he bring in support for single ... more
  • Flash on Gough Whitlam dead at 98 Mr Barnetts comments are of no relevance. If Mr Barnett had just 5% of Mr Whitlam's abilities the state of WA would be 500% ... more
  • colin on Gough Whitlam dead at 98 Mr barnetts comments ,shows all w.a. what sort of person he is ,history will show Mr Whitlamas the game changer in our ... more
  • Carol on Muslims: Barnett's gone missing I am disgusted at the fact that they are worried and now bitching to the gov for more special privileges. They do not ... more
  • Kevin on Paul Murray Retires Good luck Paul. By far 6PR's most politically astute presenter, you will be a loss. I hope the MD can find a top class ... more
  • sandy kersey on Paul Murray Retires I will miss you Paul Best wishes to you and your wife !! Enjoy more
  • Conservative John on Paul Murray Retires Enjoy your travel Paul. I hope 882 don't do their normal thing and replace you with some old hack, they need new blood. more
  • Dellas on Watermelon prices set to skyrocket Watermelons and rock melons used to be grown in the Swan Valley.There was such a glut that, at the end of some seasons they ... more
  • Dellas on Game show sexism? Re-phrase the question and then it wouldn't be sexist; ie, "Name something Men think is a woman's job"?Or..."name something ... more
  • Pepita on Paul Murray Retires A massive loss to journalism in WA, Paul will leave big shoes to fill. Would be nice to see a woman take drive though to ... more
  • Graham on Paul Murray Retires Hi PaulWhy are you waiting till end of 2014 ?What are the labor Party going to do without you marketing them ? more
  • Dellas on Abbey's Project That "Abbey" gave consent to the Family Law Court to have contact with her father speaks tellingly about the nature of child ... more
  • Dellas on PM's adviser backs burqa ban I hate to point out the obvious typo, Paul, but isn't Peta's surname spelt Cretin? more
  • Walter on Crying poor after the boom How is it Premier Barnett uses the argument that the increased volume output of iron ore will compensate for fall in its ... more
  • Luke Reymond on Bali weddings in tatters Sadly Paul and Catherine Williams of Bali D'Luxe weddings  conned my little sister out of $25,000 and on the day the ... more
  • troy on Paul Murray Retires not happy Paul, u r a person for the people ,. god bless more
  • Mr Cranky on Paul Murray Retires Paul,I haven't always agreed with you,informative and precise comes to mind with your presentation.Time to enjoy life,all ... more
  • Brian Whitby on Paul Murray Retires Sorry to hear the news that you are retiring Paul. We have had or difference of opinion on a few occasions but you I listen ... more
  • Allan Bowes on Paul Murray Retires I'd like to wish Paul all the best for the future.Thoroughly enjoyed your shows in the morning and afternoon.You will be ... more

The Artist

Posted by: Shannon Harvey | 3 February, 2012 - 10:24 AM
The Artist

THE ARTIST (PG)

Released: February 2, 2012

Review: Shannon Harvey

Score: 9.5 / 10

 

We’ve been treated to the top three Oscar front-runners in the past three weeks, with The Descendants, Hugo and now the silent black-and-white drama The Artist. It’s the favourite for best picture, actor and director, with 10 nominations overall.

And what a delightful, breezy, jazzy, breath of fresh air it is!

It’s quite similar in theme to Hugo, with both being about the early days of cinema and the silent era. Yet while Hugo is a Hollywood film set in Paris, The Artist is a French film set in Hollywood, starting in 1927 at the birth of the talkies.

It’s from director Michel Hazanavcius and stars Jean Dujardin as silent movie star George Valentin, the George Clooney of the day. This dashing bachelor is the toast of Hollywood – until he literally bumps into dancer and singer Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo).

Peppy is part of the new breed of young starlets sweeping Hollywood, and when George’s studio boss (John Goodman) decides to cease making silent films and only make talkies, it’s out with old George and in with new Peppy!

George puts all his money into writing, directing and starring in his own new silent film. It opens on the day of the stock market crash and sends him headlong into bankruptcy and depression.

Meanwhile, Peppy’s career skyrockets, but she still holds a candle for this handsome matinee has-been.

There’s lots of themes to consider in this charming hark back to the silent era. There’s the birth of the talkies and its impact on silent era stars. There’s the fleeting nature of celebrity, and how one can rise while the other falls. And there’s the clever way The Artist uses the silent black and white form to analyse the silent era itself.

And don’t be put off by the silence or the black and white. The Artist is very easy to watch and enjoy, with a jaunty soundtrack and pitch-perfect acting that ensures you’re never lost as to what’s going on. The dialogue is relayed with old fashioned speech cards, and it’s often easy to read the character’s lips.

Indeed, The Artist is something we haven’t seen at the movies in a long, long time, and it’s quite original. Perhaps Singing in the Rain, A Star is Born or All About Eve are the closest comparisons.

There’s a fabulous early scene where Peppy is dancing behind a scrim backdrop and we only see her legs. George copies the dance from the other side, and the two go back and forth – a real Ginger Rogers/Fred Astaire moment.

Another beautiful moment comes when Peppy discovers George’s dressing room, and puts her arm into his tuxedo arm and wraps it around her, imagining he’s embracing her….until the real George walks in!

It’s a bit convenient for George’s film to come out the day of the stock market crash, bankrupting him and sending him on a downward spiral. And the last minute surprise doesn’t quite work.

But this is a funny, heartfelt, moving and romantic classic, and reminds you of everything you go to the movies for. It’s playful tone belies its serious themes, using the antiquated medium to deftly critique the business of show business (and how things haven’t changed much).

Jean Dujardin is a revelation as the silent era superstar – as handsome and dashing as Clooney and dancing like Fred Astaire. And Berenice Bejo is gorgeous as Peppy, the plucky upstart who dances like Ginger Rogers.

And I mustn’t forget Uggie, George’s faithful Jack Russell that literally saves him from death.

Will The Artist win the Oscar? It’s a true underdog – a silent, black and white foreign film. But Hollywood loves an underdog, especially one about Hollywood itself!

 

Blog comments Your Say

Post a comment * Mandatory fields