The film is a good reminder of how the events of yesterday have echoes into the present. In the film, technology displaces jobs, and Wall Street hubris leads to suffering of many everyday people; it's not hard to see why that might still have relevance today.
James Cromwell brings class and humility to his role as Valentin's butler/chauffeur Clifton; Penelope Ann Miller is also notable as Valentin's envious wife, Doris.
Given the demands placed on it, the score of “The Artist” has to be near-perfect and succeeds, keeping the audience engrossed despite the lack of speech from the leads. Dujardin and Bejo ooze charisma and chemistry, and communicate clearly without the use of their voices. While we've seen similar plots covered in films such as “Singin' in the Rain,” “Sunset Boulevard” and “A Star Is Born,” “The Artist” manages to seem fresh while at the same time delightfully old-fashioned.
Writer-director Michel Hazanavicius embraces the world of 1920s and 1930s Hollywood in recreating film as it once was. It takes a few minutes to get used to the format of the silent movie, but once you do, the world is immersive and irresistible. “The Artist” both pays homage to and recreates a bygone era in a film, and does so in a way that has appeal for all ages.
— Matthew Price
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Starring: Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, James Cromwell, Missi Pyle, John Goodman (A disturbing image and a crude gesture.)