"Out with the Old, in with the New"
What You Need To Know:
Shot in black and white, THE ARTIST is one of the most creative, charming movies of the year. The performances by the lead actors are stunning. The script immerses viewers in the action without resorting to spoken dialogue. The writer creates a moral loophole to make possible the new relationship between Peppy and George, but he celebrates the value of friendship, loyalty, and charity while taking viewers on a rollercoaster ride back to Hollywood of yesteryear. THE ARTIST is a very clean movie, but caution is advised for pre-teen children.
(BB, C, Ro, CapCap, AC, L, V, N, AA, D, M) Strong moral worldview with strong themes of friendship, love, and loyalty, embodied especially in the loyal butler character, and a warning against both the sin of pride and the fleeting “here today, gone tomorrow” character of fame and material wealth, culminating in a final message of redemption and hope, although there is no explicit mention of Christianity or religion, mitigated by some Romantic elements that are emotions based, plus a vivid capitalist depiction of living the Hollywood dream and making it by working one’s way up from extra to star and a silent movie playing during the opening sequence has an anti-communist message of “long live free Georgia!”; no obscenities and one OMG light exclamatory profanity; action violence during the shooting and playing of movie scenes, including on-screen electrocution of Russian spy; no sex scenes but some illicit desires include female lead flirts with male star even after she realizes he’s married but they never kiss until years later after his wife has left him when they hit troubled financial times and lead character is especially attracted to the legs of his tap dance partner; no nudity; male lead abuses alcohol as he loses his star status; smoking; and, woman leaves husband when his fortunes decrease.
THE ARTIST is a mostly silent new movie that tells the rise and downfall of an actor and his relationship with two women.
It’s Hollywood, 1927. Silent movie star George Valentin is at the height of his acting career when he meets the beautiful Peppy Miller, a determined, optimistic, and hardworking young dancer on the verge of a big break. While their attraction is immediate, theirs is a love not meant to be, for Valentin is married.
As the “talkies” arrive on the scene and gain in popularity almost overnight, Valentin’s star status is called into question, and he finds it difficult to get work. Determined to produce his own silent movie, Valentin engages on a quest to prove the value of the genre, while Peppy becomes the new “it” girl in Hollywood by starring in the new “talkies.”
In the midst of an already strained marriage, Valentin loses everything when the stock market crashes; including his wife, who leaves him without even saying goodbye. This provides a moral loophole strategically engineered by the writers of THE ARTIST to allow a relationship between Peppy and Valentin to develop. Will Valentin be able to overcome the greatest sin of all, pride, and accept the help he needs from Peppy and his loyal butler to look deep inside, accept love, and find a place for himself in the new Hollywood?
Shot entirely in black and white, THE ARTIST is a silent European art film that embraces a high-paced, comic, and entertaining Hollywood blockbuster-style storyline. It stood out at the Austin Film Festival (where it added another award to its roster) as a lighthearted crowd pleaser. Given that it contains almost no dialogue, it’s a testament to how a great story, well executed, can grip even the most modern of audiences. THE ARTIST is a wonderful apology for the silent film era to which it pays tribute. The astute viewer will notice that not every story of transition is as happy in the end as George Valentin’s. His little dog (about whom the protagonist exclaims earlier that he can’t talk and therefore provides a comic foil for Valentin’s own plight) is strikingly absent from the final scene, which has full sound.
Shot entirely in black and white, THE ARTIST is one of the most creative and charming movies of the year. The performances by the lead actors are stunning. The well-constructed script immerses viewers in the thick of the action, without resorting to spoken dialogue. Although the writer creates a moral loophole to make possible the new relationship between Peppy and George (whom she nurses back to health), the movie celebrates the values of friendship, loyalty, and charity while taking viewers on a rollercoaster ride back to Hollywood of yesteryear.
THE ARTIST doesn’t provide a biblical theological perspective, but the values of friendship, love, redemption, and warnings against pride, coupled with the sense that there’s more to life than fame, provide a clear moral background. THE ARTIST is pretty clean overall, but it’s designed for mature viewers and has scenes of emotional disturbance and conflict between a married couple who separate. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for pre-teen children.