THE ARTIST written and directed by Michel Hazanavicius, with Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman and James Cromwell. An Alliance Films release. 100 minutes. Opens Friday (December 9). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNNN
In 1927 Hollywood, silent film star George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) and fan and aspiring star Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) meet cute, and soon her career is taking off (she's dubbed the "it girl" of talkies) as his falls into decline.
Filming in gorgeous black-and-white, director Michel Hazanavicius lovingly embraces all the tropes of silent cinema (iris shots, titles), sharpening the familiar narrative with a slight edge that should satisfy contemporary tastes.
John Goodman and James Cromwell fit beautifully into secondary roles, and Bejo is winning as the ambitious ingenue, but it's Cannes best-actor winner Dujardin who shows the widest range as the glamorous matinee idol who's not even upstaged by his acrobatic dog.