The ul­ti­mate quiet achieve­ment. France, 103 mins

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - MOVIES -

The sim­ple fact so many will be en­gaged and en­ter­tained by a French movie that has no spo­ken di­a­logue – and is shot in a square-framed black-and-white – is noth­ing short of a triumph. The story be­gins with 1920s movie star Ge­orge Valentin (Jean Du­jardin) an un­stop­pable force at the box-of­fice – un­til the big silent stu­dios switch to sound. They’ve in­vited Valentin to join the party, but he re­fuses to at­tend. Fi­nan­cial ruin and a bat­tle with the bot­tle fol­lows. Valentin’s only hope of re­demp­tion? The vi­va­cious Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo), the big­gest star in talkies. The ir­re­sistible ap­peal of The Artist owes much to its su­perb cast. The French lead­ing duo of Du­jardin and Bejo are won­der­ful through­out, mug­ging and over-em­pha­sis­ing the sim­plest of ges­tures with a know­ing wink. Both are some­times trumped by a re­mark­able lit­tle ca­nine co-star named Ug­gie. This is no mere nos­tal­gic ode to how mag­i­cal the movies once were. This is a cel­e­bra­tion of how mag­i­cal the movies can still be.

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