Talkies, eh?

I want to start with a confession. I didn’t think Drive was all that. Sure, Ryan Blue-Eyes smouldered, but he was also creepy, frankly, and not in a good way. I didn’t appreciate that women are molls or doe-eyed mothers who need a good rescuing. And I’ve never been a fan of electronica.

That story where the man with the past is going to go straight / do right / leave it all behind after one last heist? Heat aside, not my bag. At least Drive didn’t actively annoy me and it does have its plus points (Gosling and Mulligan are both great, it is reasonably stylish / iconic, and it’s well shot).

But if you’re going to watch a movie that spends quantities of time teasing you with how little its lead actor can say, watch The Artist. Bear with me, I’m going to gush.

4:3, black and white, silent, this is a modern movie that has enthusiastically returned to its roots to tell the story of a silent movie star who doesn’t want to do talkies, and is left behind by Hollywood – except for the rising talkies’ starlet who has always been his desperate fangirl.

Overtired, strung out, and in desperate need of some TLC or a good cry, I wasn’t even sure I’d stay awake – let alone during a film with no dialogue. No need to worry: the warmth and humour comes off the screen in waves. Bujo and Desjardins are absurdly attractive leads with faces that project (no mugging!) emotion without words; the occasional titles are mostly comic effect and good form – this is absolutely about nodding to tropes.

Expect a comedy dog, faithful sidekick, and tap dancing and you won’t be disappointed. Our audience laughed, gasped, sniffed away a tear (not me for once!) and floated out on a cloud of delight.

Absolutely enchanting. Must be seen.

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