Posted on 2/18/12 05:52 PM
Like "Midnight in Paris", "The Artist" ultimately finds itself piggybacking on the authenticity (or perceived authenticity) of a bygone age, presumed to be a simplier, happier time without ever being quite convincing. It seems like ersatz nostalgia to me. Sweet, earnest and certainly sincere, but rarely genuine. It's a pantomime of authenticity rather than an authentic expression. Dujardin resembles Gene Kelly perfectly, and this film is perfect for those who find some shape of reality in the highly artificial realms of musicals and Broadway. It is a candy-coated revision of memory, and like I said, it's very sweet. I almost feel bad diminishing it, but if the film was not an over-hyped charade of Hollywood glory, I'd say it was a perfectly charming homage. But an Oscar sweeper? Well, so was "Chicago" and "Shakespeare in Love", two more examples of empty, unreal sentimentality. At least Woody Allen rejects such phony nostalgic mythologizing, after wallowing in it for most of his film.