The Artist – a review

9 01 2012

Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, Michel Hazanavicius

There may well be a more charming and entertaining film to start the new year with than Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist, but right now it’s difficult to think of one offhand. Since premièring at Cannes last year, a seemingly unstoppable head of critical and commercial steam has been building behind this effortlessly light and imaginative comedy, with many talking up its chances as a contender in February’s Oscars.

The Artist takes us back to the glory days of silent Hollywood, and into the life of George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), a handsome, moustachioed and ever-so-slightly ridiculous hero of big screen action and swashbuckling films, somewhat in the mould of Douglas Fairbanks.

We first encounter George at a screening of his latest film, as he, a starlet and his cigar-chomping producer, played by John Goodman (a man born to play a cigar-chomping producer), wait behind the screen to eavesdrop on the audience’s reaction.

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