The Artist

Mr. Michie took me on a date Saturday afternoon to see a movie I have been dying to see: The Artist. We LOVED it! And Jack, the little dog (named Uggie in real life), just made the movie!

I grew up watching old movies. I have a weakness for them! Who doesn’t stop the channel when they hear Doris Day belting out a tune, or Debbie Reynolds singing to her true love through the window in Tammy and the Bachelor, or watch Rock Hudson pull Jane Wyman into his arms in All that Heaven Allows, or laugh and cry while watching Myrna Loy and Jeanne Crain in Cheaper by the Dozen and the follow-up with Belles on Their Toes. Not to forget every old Christmas movie ever made!

Spoiler alert: I do discuss the film plot line from this point on, so if you haven’t seen it and want to keep it a surprise, please read no further!

I adore a good old fashioned movie and The Artist is just that. I loved that it was silent, their expressions said so much. They didn’t have to speak, you knew, through the music, through a glance what they were feeling. Even without words, I still felt so much, I started to dislike his wife, even though she never really did anything wrong. After gifting her with a strand of pearls, it was so clever to watch her as her wardrobe first prominently displayed the necklace, it was all cut around it, but as her feelings for him changed the clothes began to cover it up, until it was completely enveloped by her dress.

Hmm, a movie that makes you think, not many do that today. It’s interesting that in talking to some students before the weekend who had seen it, they told me they didn’t like it. We spoke about it and what I finally ascertained out of them was that they felt it was too much to take in, it wasn’t spelled out for them, it wasn’t easy, it was boring because there was no talking. What is wrong with something making you think? Making you question? We as a society don’t do enough of that at times.

George Valentin (the artist) a famous silent film star, bucks at the idea that movies will become “talkies” and the girl he really loves and helped jump start her career is starring in the first “talkie” for the film studio he used to work at it. After a series of events from that point to the end, they realize that each of them feel exactly the same way about each other: they are in love and she ends up rescuing him from himself.

George however, feels he is washed up and can’t belong to this new world of talking movies, but Peppy convinces him and the studio bosses otherwise. The movie ends with their magical dance number, you hear the music and their feet tapping as they move, reminiscent of Fred & Ginger. Once they cut, the crew applauds and the studio executive asks them to do the number one more time, to which for the first time since the movie began we hear George speak. He utters two words : “With Pleasure!” in Jean Dujardin’s delectable French accent and you are charmed beyond belief.

“With Pleasure!”, could be this generation’s: “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse!”; “Here’s looking at you kid!”; “Frankly my Dear, I don’t give a Damn!”; “I’ll have what she’s having!”; “May the Force be with you!” (I had to put that in there for Mr. Michie). It has to go down in history as a famous one liner. You went through so much, you wondered if this would turn out well, would he swallow his pride? He did, they danced, they laughed, the movie ended on a happy note.

I don’t buy into the Oscar hype, I see movies because I want to, I know this is up for a gazillion awards, but as we left Mr. Michie said to me, it deserves every award it is up for and I have to say, I agree. It was enjoyable, it was old-fashioned, it was still relevant now, it was extremely clever, it is a classic.