THE ARTIST

Michel Hazanavicius’ film is an “old” movie in love with old movies, a faithful homage to the silent film era, and something more – something oddly touching and surprisingly involving. Jean Dujardin, a big handsome matinee idol-looking Frenchman, plays George Valentin, a silent film star in late 20s Hollywood who unintentionally helps herald in the “talkie” era by giving a career boost to a young would-be starlet named Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo). Their love-resent relationship has its ups and downs, with Peppy’s star on the rise and George headed for a big fall, aided and abetted both by a gruff old studio head (John Goodman) possessing great foresight, and by the unforeseen stock market crash of 1930. With a plot that is one part A Star is Born and one part Singin’ in the Rain, and with allusions to everything from Lassie to Fred & Ginger to Citizen Kane, to say nothing of the vague air of James Bond, Errol Flynn and Zorro that permeates the action movies Valentin stars in, this film is for true film lovers only. There’s also some fine supporting work from an ingenious little dog named Uggie.

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