Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

February 24, 2012

Be kind, rewind!

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 10:41 pm

February 24, 2012

Cast: Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller, Missi Pyle

Director: Michel Hazanavicius

It would be accurate to describe The Artist as a modern cinematic experiment, but that would make it all just a little bit soulless. This black-and-white, mostly wordless film is really a love letter to a bygone era – that of silent cinema – but in a wonderful way, writer-director Michel Hazanavicius shows us just how important it is to move with the times.

You can see it in that telling scene in The Artist when silent movie star George Valentin (played by Jean Dujardin) is shown the rushes of a talkie for the first time by the studio head (John Goodman). Valentin bursts into laughter in the screening room; he can’t envision that something as basic as sound is the future. As he rejects the idea, you know what’s coming next – the era of films like Singin’ In The Rain, that will sound the death knell for silent movie stars like Valentin.

At the heart of this homage to cinema is a charming little love story that plays itself out as starlet Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) meets her idol George Valentin. Her career kicks off as an extra in a small scene in Valentin’s film, but as the talkies come in, she ironically upstages her screen hero.

The film’s story is told the old-fashioned way – through title cards, exaggerated facial expressions and a dramatic background score – and so often, you’re reminded of watching a Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton film. However, Hazanavicius never once abandons skill in his journey. Watch that scene when sound actually filters into the film; as you expected, it literally is a silent movie demigod’s personal nightmare.

To be fair, the film drags slightly in portions, but it’s the performances – from the utterly charming Jean Dujardin, to the livewire Berenice Bejo, and even that adorable Jack Russel terrier Uggie – that never let your attention wane.

I’m going with four out of five for The Artist. If you love the movies, you’ll be helplessly captivated – this is a film that begs big-screen viewing. Don’t miss it for anything.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. It deserves 4.5 stars from me! 🙂 Loved this film. Had seen it at IFFI, Goa.

    Comment by Himanshu Vora — February 25, 2012 @ 2:00 am

  2. nice review sir ji…

    Comment by kalam irani — February 25, 2012 @ 6:53 am

  3. We have predicted The Artist to win the Academy Award this year on http://moviehysterics.blogspot.com/

    Comment by Chaitanya Deshpande — February 25, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

  4. This movie again made me realize that film making is also an art.Amazing acting and superb emotions conveyed.I hope indian directors can take sumthing from this masterpiece and improve film-making by even 5 %.I was fascinated by watching it.The actor deserves oscar more than Clooney(eventhough I loved his performance in Descendants).

    Comment by Rohan — February 25, 2012 @ 10:10 pm

  5. the movie is really great
    shud win all da oscars!!!!

    Comment by nikhil — February 25, 2012 @ 11:15 pm

  6. Saw it yesterday …. I loved it. What a soothing experience.

    Comment by Ajith — February 26, 2012 @ 9:51 am

  7. its a movie of director and actor…great movie to watch…4.5 from me…

    Comment by sk — February 27, 2012 @ 11:14 pm

  8. there is no doubt about it that it’s a gr8 concept…..gr8 idea….n gr8 film……..
    bt for those who are telling bollywood to learn from dis………Plz watch marathi film HARICHANDRACHI FACTORY…….It is also a gr8 film…….or can say better than dis……..

    Comment by Swapnil — March 1, 2012 @ 1:45 am

  9. A simple story told in an awesome way which is an ode to the silent era.. for me the dog was the hero.. at one point of time, it made me sit at the edge of the seat – a testament to the power of story and script..

    Comment by Ishwarya — March 2, 2012 @ 10:53 pm

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