The Artist is about two people, a man and a woman. One is on his way out of fame and the other is a rising star.
As we know, The Artist is a silent black and white film. However, it is not some hipster art film, nor is it an attempt to bring back an antiquated style that should have stayed in the 1920s. It is a piece that stands alone and recreates silent film in a way that abandons only the conventions which previously made it too archaic for modern audiences. This is a film that takes advantage of the visual and emotional artistry of silent film.
I adore this film, not only for its entertainment and beauty, but also for its function as a political message for the industry. What it says to me is that we need to let go of today's 3D film and technological pizzazz and embrace what first and foremost makes us fall in love with films: great stories and great characters. CGI does not move us, 3D does not move us-- stories move us! The Artist is a very optimistic effort to reestablish the magic of cinema and help modern audiences appreciate the beauty of classical Hollywood.
Another thing I loved about The Artist was its references to other films. Of course, the parallels to Singin' in the Rain are pretty easy to catch, but I also thought that George Valentin's wreaking havoc on his apartment evoked a similar scene in Citizen Kane. There seemed to be a reference to Fritz Lang's Metropolis as well. Director Michel Hazanavicius is clearly a man who has studied film extensively and isn't afraid to use unique shots and pay homage to the greats.
Jean Dujardin's masterful performance rides the emotional spectrum and frequently invokes Gene Kelly. Bérénice Bejo is as glowing and dazzling as the movie star she plays. She is completely irresistible. And these performances should not be taken for granted--the art of acting in silent film is a whole different animal to master. It's not just constant mugging, but rather creating an emotional availability to the audience that conveys visually what cannot be said through extended dialogue.
If you can't stand silent or, god forbid, black and white film, it will take you all of five minutes to get over yourself and begin to enjoy this work of unprecedented magic. If anything, you'll get a laugh and pleasant mood from it. And if you don't like it, well sorry, but you didn't get it. Please hurry and go see it.