6PR - Fairfax Radio Network

What we're talking about

  • anne on Groomed to hate Australia Noticed Saturdays West and Sunday Times had no letters about the Muslim rampages in Canada and New York or the nasty ginger ... more
  • anne on Groomed to hate Australia with christmas coming on lets not pretend our school teachers are not grooming our children -- carols bad, hurt Muslims -- ... more
  • Jennifer on Paul Murray Retires Sorry to hear you are retiring Paul. You would have to be the best political presenter in the country. No one comes close to ... more
  • Dellas on Groomed to hate Australia They sound like a mob of blokes and their "young boys" singing "la vida loca"before a footie match. more
  • Alec Strachan on Groomed to hate Australia Why have the faces been blocked out ?. Surely we need to see the faces of these trainee terrorists so we can kick their butt ... more
  • Dellas on Social media slams sexist ad Were do people go when they get old and no amount of creams, botox, fillers, physical enhancers, "regimens" and medication ... more
  • Perthguy on Social media slams sexist ad These are professional models that are being paid. It is a career choice and those that complain either are jealous or ... more
  • Lisa on Paul Murray Retires Missed Howard after he left and will miss your informative and balanced reports. Only issue I felt was very biased was your ... more
  • Jester4212 on Social media slams sexist ad Men are treated as sex objects just as much as women. It's just the female industry for it is much much larger. The ... more
  • Wayne on Paul Murray Retires Our loss...but enjoy the next step. I envy you,I kno you have already seen much but we all know there is plenty more to see. ... more
  • Mark on Sanderson opens up after sacking I thought he was dumped prematurely by a board who seemed to be concerned that they should look like there doing ... more
  • Andrew on Muslims: Barnett's gone missing @ Carol... typical pigheaded attitude. I say this as a white Australian - born here - that they have as much right as any ... more
  • steve on Social media slams sexist ad Anne, it wouldn't bother me one bit. You are living in a dream if you think people are not judged by the way they look ... more
  • Anne on Social media slams sexist ad steve I dont think you want to be defined by the size of your package or lack thereof. more
  • steve on A waste of open space What a great idea. Replace green, leafy, oxygen giving, animal habitats with buildings. We need more of this sort of ... more
  • steve on Social media slams sexist ad Wow, what a crime! Meanwhile 100's flock to the Firemans Calendar event. I didn't hear a single guy complain. more
  • Dellas on Social media slams sexist ad This whole "sexist" thing is ridiculous.Women objectify themselves, compare themselves with each other, judge each other on ... more
  • Elaine on Paul Murray Retires Good luck with the rest of your life and enjoy your retirement you well deserve it. I, like the previous comments do hope ... more
  • Garry Tomlinson on Muslims: Barnett's gone missing Maybe Colin is hiding with all the so called Moderate Muslims and are arranging some protests about ISIS giving Islam a bad ... more
  • Ruther on A waste of open space I live in East Wanneroo where there is a majority of land owners waiting for rezoning from rural to urban but is held to ... 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