This morning (Jan 20th) I went and saw The Artist at the Broadway Center Theater here in Salt Lake City. It took forever to get here; it opened in limited release in the US November of 2011, and premiered at the Cannes Film Festival May of last year.
The film is set in the late ‘20s, early ‘30s. It’s entirely in black and white, and it’s silent. There’s a soundtrack, there’s music playing throughout with some title cards with dialogue, but there aren’t many of those.
French actor Jean Dujardin plays George Valentin, the balls in the silent film industry. On the way out of a premiere, George accidentally meets a woman named Peppy Miller, played by French actress Bérénice Bejo. That little meeting gets her in the newspaper the next day. Later, she goes to audition for a movie, George spots her, and gets her in the film. Then the talkies are introduced and George gets dumped by his production company. Peppy, however, becomes a huge talking picture star. George loses everything. And the rest of the movie is him kinda dealing with that.
The movie is absolutely wonderful; it’s funny, heartwarming, and there’s a really talented Jack Russell terrier in it. Other recognizable faces in it include the farmer from Babe, James Cromwell, John Goodman, and Missi Pyle, amongst others.