NOT AVAILABLE ANYMORE TO STREAM ON NETFLIX. It's not every day a director decides to take away the gift of sound and return to the old ways of silent movies, but that's just what Michel Hazanavicius did with The Artist in 2011. The film is a beautiful concoction of expressive music and charisma that radiates from key players, like Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo.
The Artist is most certainly not your run of the mill Netflix instant rental. The film was beloved by critics and audiences alike. Dujardin took home the Best Actor Award at Cannes, and the film was nominated for 6 Golden Globes and 10 Academy Awards. During the 2012 Oscars, Best Actor, Best Picture and Best Director all went to The Artist.
Wouldn't you know it, this silent film is about the silent film era, and tells the story of George Valentin, the biggest silent actor of his day. We see him trotting along, loving life, and giving impish grins in time to cheery piano, while his faithful dog Jack accompanies him on set and to lavish movie premieres. You fall in love with Dujardin immediately as George, as he really nails the endearing childlike quality of a star of a more innocent time.
Bérénice Bejo plays Peppy Miller, an up and coming star and "It Girl". She's another beautifully crafted character who represents the future of movies: talkies. As society moves forward and film changes in a big way, it leaves silent movies and everyone in them in the dust. While George Valentin chases his career, Peppy Miller chases him. You'll have to see it to find out what fickle Hollywood has in store for George and Peppy.
In an interesting twist, some dynamic characters actually hail from the U.S., including an old and faithful driver of George's (James Cromwell) and the deliciously cut-throat Hollywood producer, played by John Goodman.
When choosing which netflix option for this week, know that no choice will be as elegant, as original, and as refreshingly surprising as The Artist.