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Oscars Challenge #87: The Artist (2011) Movie Review

I don't know if anyone knows the history of films and how it changes every year. During the 16th or 17th century, people knew about using shadows and lights to conjure images. It was not until the 1890s that people started to appreciate projections, and early filmmakers began to write or draw storyboard frames.

In the mid-1920s, silent films were the most popular thing. It wasn't until a decade after that talkies took over. Somehow it made me think that what if the actors in silent films weren't up to the new era of talkies? Was the technological transition hard enough for actors who don't want to talk on film?

Plot Overview

The Artist a French comedy-drama shot in black-and-white silent film.

The movie focuses on the story of a famous silent film star, George Valentin, who accidentally bumps into a woman named Peppy Miller. She later auditions as a dancer and is spotted by Valentin. He convinced her to participate in the Kinograph Studios production and eventually gained the trust of its boss, Al Zimmer. Peppy slowly rises and becomes a star in the industry.

A couple of years later, Kinograph Studios decided to end the production of silent films. Valentin didn't like the idea and thought that sound was just a disturbance. He quits the studios and begins producing silent films. As the Great Depression finally hits, Valentin's only way to escape bankruptcy is for his film to be a blockbuster. However, a coincidence, his movie's first showing is the same as Peppy's. Valentin's silent film flopped, while Peppy's was a blockbuster hit.

Valentin moves from his grand mansion to a lonely little apartment and begins to drown his problems with alcohol.


Throughout the history of the Oscars, there have only been two silent film winners. The first was Wings, and the second was this.

The Artist may have been an underdog during the 2011 Academy Awards, competing against great films like Moneyball and The Tree of Life, but I think it has an excellent premise for a simple story. I like how the film portrays what it means for actors who have difficulty transitioning to a more technologically advanced experience.

Many would say that The Artist does not deserve to win the award, but I think it won because it paid respects to the history of movies. It may not be the best, but it showed its relevance.

Overall The Artist is a fun and dramatic movie that has its own rough edges. It's not perfect, yet it is also not dragging.

A good 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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