Dangerously in love with “The Artist” (2011)

29 November 2011

I’ve fallen so deeply in love with this trailer that I’m afraid I can’t possibly love the real film as much — whenever I manage to see it. The Artist: it’s a silent film about the silent film era! Could there be anything more delightful?

(Don’t you just love his Thin Man-style wire-haired fox terrier?)

It stars Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo, the excellent actors from OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies (the French James Bond spoof, also directed by Michel Hazanavicius), in which Dujardin was so fabulous that he was nominated in the Best Actor category for the César Awards — a rare commendation for a goofy comedy. Both stars and the director have already earned a pile of prizes and nominations for The Artist, including a Best Actor win for Dujardin at Cannes last summer.

I was delighted with OSS 117 back when I watched it one Saturday afternoon with popcorn, and was especially impressed by Dujardin’s innovative, expansive talents. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve now watched this trailer, marveling over his tap dancing chops and light physical comic gifts that never seem too corny. Excuse me for gushing — and believe me when I insist that my effusive love is strongly mitigated by anxiety that the full-length feature can’t possibly live up. Note to self: this is why many professional reviewers don’t watch trailers first.

9 Responses to “Dangerously in love with “The Artist” (2011)”

  1. JustMeMike Says:


    Check the above link for The Anatomy of a Scene from yesterday’s NY Times. The keyword is reaction shots…


  2. Dienna Says:

    If I didn’t see the 2011 above I would’ve sworn this were actually filmed in the ’20s. They’ve got the look and feel of that era down pat!

    • Didion Says:

      The “anatomy of a scene” that JustMeMike pointed to is a nice, brief, director-led tour of how delightful those early movie cliches can be — in this case, the dialogue and flirtation between two sets of tap shoes. It’s as if Hazanavicius tapped into exactly what I love about classic cinema and came up with new cliches.

  3. I too fell in love with the trailer, and I watched it multiple times before I actually got to see the film a couple days ago. The Artist met and even exceeded my high expectations for it. I hope you enjoy it when you have the chance to see it.

    • Didion Says:

      Oh thank you, thank you for letting me know! I’m still thinking I need to scale back expectations, but overall I can’t imagine a nicer winter treat than this film. (And how lucky are you, living in one of those rare places where it’s already been released? I expect to see it around Christmas if I’m lucky.)

  4. Frank Says:

    I thought you might be interested in these interviews about the making of The Artist. I am reserving judgement on what else to post here until I’ve seen the film and read your review… but I have a feeling “sitting between Penelope Miller and Peppy Miller will be a bumpy ride.”


    • Didion Says:

      Attention, everyone: Frank has found a terrific, meaty series of interviews here. If you’re not afraid to develop a huge crush on director Michel Hazanavicius and ramp up your expectations for the film to dangerously high levels, pay attention: these are interviews with individuals who seriously love film.

      Dujardin and Bejo learned to tap dance that convincingly in four months??

  5. […] I giggled from the film’s very earliest silly moments. I found myself so attached to Uggie, the dog, that I considered getting a dog. And I cried: the big melodramatic moment came and I was truly moved, with big affectionate tears running down my face. What a relief: after watching the trailer approximately 30 times, I had fretted the full-length film couldn’t live up. […]

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