Audience Review/ The Artist

Cornerhouse customer Michael Lyons recommends The Artist

Got the January blues? Fed up with this stinking weather? Go watch The Artist and revel in the magic of cinema.

George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is your classic Hollywood silent film star. Smartly dressed, suave, and oozes charm. He’s got everybody eating out of the palm of his hand. However, when Hollywood experiences the changeover from silent films to the ‘talkies’, the ‘old guard’ gets the boot. Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo), an up-and-coming actress, who had an eye for George, suddenly becomes the new face of the industry. George is sceptical of the ‘talkies’, and decides to make his own silent film which turns out to be an unequivocal flop.  Melancholy kicks in, and it takes the efforts of his faithful dog Uggie and Peppy to bring him back to happiness. Essentially, it’s a rise and fall story mixed with a romance. Not terribly innovative, but when it’s just so gosh-darn stylish, it’s hard to criticise.

The film draws influence from classics like Singin’ in the Rain, and feels like a personal homage to Hollywood. However, director Michel Hazanavicius still has time for plenty of playful jibes at the industry, all in good jest though. The prankish behaviour of this film adds to its charm, there are many tricks up the director’s sleeve which he uses to bamboozle the audience. Be warned! Silent film protocol may be broken. Not everything mimed on screen is subtitled, which I think is fantastic. All the important bits are in to aid the narrative, but anything unnecessary is left out. All the rubbish spoken is literally silenced – if only that could happen in real life.

Before concluding I want to praise one superb supporting actor. No, not John Goodman. No, not James Cromwell. Uggie the dog! This little Jack Russell stole the show, and is surely hands-down better than Marley or Beethoven. So if you have any decency, you should follow @Uggie_TheArtist on Twitter and support the #ConsiderUggie cause. Let’s get this dog an Oscar!

There is a lot of Oscar buzz surrounding this film, and I can completely see why. You can’t help but be bowled over with its wit and charm. I left feeling warm and fuzzy, which is always a plus in these cold winter months. Don’t be fooled by the monochrome aesthetic, it’s the most colourful film I’ve seen in ages.

The Artist continues to screen at Cornerhouse until at least Thu 26 Jan. Book your tickets online here.