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The Artist

I love writing scripts, and for the most part I have enjoyed my time working in Hollywood, but damn the place can be narcissistic which is why either The Artist or Hugo is probably going to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

In an earlier post I’ve outlined the deep script problems in Hugo, and why I think it ultimately failed.  Now I’ll take on the other love letter to the movies — The Artist.

From the opening titles it’s a perfect recreation of the films of the silent era.  The star has the look of a Douglas Fairbanks, John Goodman is perfect as the studio head.  They play games with the genre — like the big sign backstage as our star’s latest movie is playing “Please be Silent behind the Screen”, but at the end it just felt like a one note joke that would have been better served if it had been a short rather than almost two hours long.

Two performances stood out.  The wonderful Bérénice Bejo as the young actress Peppy Miller and the adorable dog.  Early on I said to myself, “why, this is Singin’ in the Rain.

The story was very predictable which might have been in keeping for films of that era, but had me wishing they would just get to the inevitable end much more quickly than they did.

Basically I spent the entire evening flashing back to Singin’ in the Rain, and wishing I was home watching that instead.  Not until we got to the final dance number between George and Peppy did this The Artist really pop for me.

Bottom line — I liked this movie, but I didn’t love it, and I don’t think it deserves the Oscar.  On the other hand many of the nominees don’t stand out.  War Horse (reviewed earlier on this blog) is not a very good movie.  I liked Money Ball a lot but its pace is certainly languid.  I still have to see The Descendants.  Hugo was lovely but flawed.  This is one year when I probably won’t have seen all the nominated films — I’m certainly not going to see Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.  Sadly none of them really stand out for me.  Not one of them made me feel passionate.

 

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