In addition to a playful, engaging beginning, the film dovetails nicely with a winning, highly satisfying conclusion. It's easy to see why this film's getting so much Oscar love. Where "The Artist" is concerned, however, the mess is in the middle.
First of all, I give few points for sets and costume design. Every film needs sets and costumes, and any film worth it's space on a terabyte drive pays attention to every detail. Needless to say, "The Artist" had wonderful costumes, sets, and film style. It's not my goal to be a contrarian, but there was at least one major flaw in this movie, a shadow from which the lead characters never fully emerge. Leading man George Valentin (Dujardin) is married. Not only was their no real point for it, the fact that he was cost both him and his leading lady, Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo), major likability points. The film attempts to demonstrate Valentin's wife's unworthiness and therefore dismissability through her sullen ingratitude and passive aggressive habit of defacing her husband's photographs. She's a bitter bitch, but the film never tells us why. We are just expected to accept that she's terrible. Instead she becomes an enigma, an unresolved snarl. To be honest, I felt like the writer (Michel Hazanavicius) was using this character to settle a personal score without regard to how such a two-dimensional character hinders his plot.
Other than that (and I know it's a lot), I heartily enjoyed "The Artist." The film was a playful homage to our past. Heck, even the film's contradictions were food for thought, so it was all good for me.
Anyone else feel like there's more to "The Artist" than meets the eye? I'd love to hear your thoughts!