The Artist (2011)

Starring Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller, Missi Pyle, Beth Grant, Ed Lauter, Joel Murray

Directed by Michel Hazanavicius

Expectations: High hopes, but moderate expectations.


I love film, if I didn’t I wouldn’t bother writing about it. I consider myself something of a film historian, not that I collect and catalog old works, but that I’m concerned with maintaining an understanding of the industry in its many forms throughout the years. Silent films were a huge part of my life about ten years ago, so much so that I was pretty much watching nothing else. It is this foundation that instantly gets excited when talk of a new silent film emerges. Then I happened to see the trailer and I realized that not only was it a silent film, The Artist is a film set in the silent era and its plot revolves around the film industry. Great. As much as I love film, I kinda hate films about Hollywood, so my expectations were instantly cut in half, which is honestly the best thing that could’ve happened.

And now that I’ve seen it, I can honestly say that I don’t really understand why it’s getting so much praise. I mean, I get it… if Drive was the movie that lit millennials’ bulbs in 2011, and The Tree of Life was the one that rang the bell for arthouse fiends, then The Artist is the film that floats the boat of the nostalgic lover of old Hollywood, but shouldn’t a film actually be good beyond the hype, pretense and nostalgia? All three of these critically acclaimed movies fell far short of the mark for me, and as much as I didn’t care for it, I’m tempted to say that The Tree of Life is the best of the bunch, regardless of my star ratings (which I stand by). Didn’t expect to ever say that.

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