By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
Review: The Artist (spoiler-free)
It’s bad hoodoo to explain a joke. Or a great dramatic moment, for that matter. Emotion, whether laughter or tears, is not an intellectual exercise and this, intellectualizing them is a losing pursuit.
The Artist is both of these things… and not a whole lot more. It will make you laugh… and cry… and reflect.
We can discuss the technique, but that’s not what you want to know. I won’t discuss the structure here because the experience of the film is so much about the choices that Michel Hazanavicius makes as a writer and director. As an audience member, you anticipate choices that seem more or less obvious… and if and when they land, somehow, they still feel fresh.
We’ve seen this story before. It’s the arrival of the talkies from Singin’ In the Rain. It’s the rise, fall, and survival of a movie star and his relationship with a rising talent from A Star Is Born. It’s the comedic brilliance of silent films from Silent Movie, and, of course, from a long history of silent films.
But it’s really not like anything we’ve ever seen because it is the unique voice of Hazanavicius and the talents of Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo that make it all theirs. It reflects everything and feels singular.
It’s funny… the trailer tells so much of the story, but can’t begin to convey the sweep of the piece. The film defies the idea that you can have the experience in 2 minutes. Or, for that matter, in a review.
Not everyone will love it, but for those who do, it will be a lot like falling in love. You can’t really express what it is you feel, but you feel it so powerfully, you can’t ever imagine not feeling it… or even feeling it less.
I wish I knew how to say more without infringing on whatever your experience is going to be. But I am pretty sure that 90+ percent of people who read this review will see this film… because a film lover has to… and if you’re not one, how the hell did you end up reading this review?