This effort often manages to duplicate the magical pantomime of the era; a lovely scene in which Bejo drapes herself in the arms of a hung jacket as if it were a human lover could have come straight out of a Marion Davies picture.
This slight but enormously likable picture seems destined to be an awards magnet: A holiday release with enough formal sophistication to appeal to cinephiles and enough old-fashioned showbiz bravado to win over a general audience.
A crowd-pleaser even if you aren't steeped in film lore. As the old posters used to promise, it's got Comedy! Romance! Thrills! (As well as one of the most charming trained dogs you've ever seen on the big screen.)
An undeniably charming homage to Hollywood in the late 1920s, The Artist will probably be the most successful silent movie since the days of the Gish sisters. It might also be the first silent film many of its viewers have ever seen.
"The Artist" is propelled by its performances, particularly Dujardin's. He has an exquisite elegance, and builds a whole movie with only his gestures. It's impossible to imagine "The Artist" without him, the wellspring of its charm.
Dujardin turns his impeccable imitation skills on a host of early film stars, combining Rudolph Valentino's smoldering appeal and slicked-back hair with Errol Flynn's panache and pencil moustache, while preserving an essential sincerity in the process.