‘The Artist’s’ Best Picture Oscar is well chosen

Maddie Magruder

Image used with permission under the fair use doctrine.
Silence is golden, but ‘The Artist’ is platinum. This black and white masterpiece recreated an era seldom seen on the silver screen today. The film, starring Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo, was a flashback to the silent films of the 1920s, captivating the audience in the journey from silent films to “talkies.”
Dujardin effortlessly plays George Valentin, a world-famous silent film actor. When he, literally, runs into Peppy Miller, played by Bejo, he doesn’t think anything of it. But she dreams of becoming a movie star, auditioning as an extra for a movie. When she gets the part, she runs into George Valentin again. And again, and again. An infatuation develops between them, complete with looks of longing and endless giggling.
The plot thickens when a transition away from silent films begins. As “talkie” films become all the rage, George Valentin finds himself without a job, without his fame, and without any hope while the fresh Peppy Miller is the newest star.  But the actors’ care for each other shines through until the end, leaving smiles on the faces of every spectator.
The story of Geroge Valentin and Peppy Miller seems simple and done before, but director Michel Hazanavicius’s capturing of the plot snatches the audience and doesn’t let go until the ending crescendo. Even though not a single word is spoken until the end, every emotion comes through flawlessly.
The score flows along with the story, whether moments of happiness, frustration, or hopelessness. Since it is a silent film, emotions are overdone to insure the emotions are clearly conveyed, but it never comes across as tacky. And not to mention, on Sunday the film won Academy Awards for costume design, directing, original score, leading actor, and picture of the year.
If you haven’t seen this film yet, it plays at Ragtag until Wednesday. And you don’t want to miss this one. The plot sweeps you off your feet, capturing your heart with each chord, smile, and wink. You’ll dance out the theater, wanting to jump inside the story yourself.