I am a huge fan of this film. Some people feel it was a copout or a bit too "gimmicky" but I found it absolutely wonderful. 100 minutes of pure greatness. I have a soft spot in my heart for old black and white movies and silent films.
In a world where this art is dying, George Valentin fears what many celebrities fear: inadequacy. The story really put things in perspective for those of us who are feeling old and face the threat of being usurped by younger more attractive generations. It also reflects what is to become of our entertainment industry as a whole. Silent or not, this was a good solid story.
Let's touch on that silence though. The ever so loud silence. I really think this enhanced the performances. The actors could no longer depend on the way they deliver a line, instead they had to rely on the Robert DeNiro style of acting---acting with the eyes. Jean DuJardin was absolutely brilliant with his expressions from dramatic and excitement in fame to subtle vulnerability in defeat. Those magic eyebrows and timeless face really convinced me he was in fact from the late 1920's. Absolutely dreamy and soooooo French.
Silent films make you notice everything else more, just like those who are deaf have heightened senses, we are able to feel more what our hero feels. We pay closer attention to what they are wearing and their environment; the details, time and talent it took to construct the look.
I also want to say, the dog in The Artist should get a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, Golden Globe and SAG Award. I'm not trying to be funny. This dog gave a hell of a performance and he supported George throughout the entire film, stealing the scene many times over, which is more than I can say about more than half of the human performances I've seen today.