For months everyone has raved and raved about The Artist. And I waited and waited for it to come to OKC theaters. Finally it arrived! Could it possibly live up to the hype?
Steve and I saw it Saturday evening, and the theater was packed. This is mostly a blessing (we'll never get Indie films if no goes to them), but I was afraid it might end up a curse. I was annoyed by all the rattling of popcorn bags and tearing of candy wrappers -- I'm accustomed to going to early shows with smaller and less munchy crowds -- but within five minutes of the movie starting, all that noise stopped. Everyone was entranced. The only sound from the audience after that was when an older lady cried "What did he say? What did he say?" after a crucial scene. (Those of you who have seen the movie probably know EXACTLY when that question was asked.)
If you're a film history buff, a fan of Singing in the Rain, or always wished A Star is Born hadn't been quite so dark, you'll love this film. If you hate B&W, get bored and wiggly during silent films, or if your heart is two sizes too small, don't bother. (Heh.)
Two review blurbs I loved: [The Artist is] a project so idiosyncratic, so unlikely, so simultaneously innocent and sophisticated that it could only have been devised by the French. (Read the entire Salon.com review.)
In the end, that is the tragedy "The Artist" is really exploring, the death and extinction of a medium that brought the world together, that everyone could experience in the same way, never from the outside, never as a stranger. With delicacy and originality, it laments what went away. But it also performs a resurrection, because in Dujardin's performance we discover something extraordinary and lovely, the first truly great silent film performance in about 80 years. (This San Francisco Chronicle review made me cry a little.)
I have fallen deeply in love with this film, with Jean Dujardin and the rest of the cast, with sweet Uggie, and with the people who made this dream into a reality. Can't wait to see it again!
Hi there! I'm Sonia Gensler, author of THE REVENANT (Knopf '11) and the forthcoming THE DARK BETWEEN (August '13), both from Alfred A. Knopf. I blog a little about writing, but more often about reading, travel, TV and movies. Nothing too serious. Check the links below for more places to find me on the web, or click the banner to return to my website.