The Artist



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A winning and mainly upbeat tribute to Hollywood's glamorous silent era (itself shot in black and white without sound), this Oscars hopeful is the opposite of challenging; it actually sells the advances of Chaplin, Griffith and Murnau a little short. The Star Is Born plot is pure cornpone, as handsome matinee idol George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) finds his fame on the wane as mouthy discovery Peppy Miller (Brnice Bejo) gabs her way into viewers' hearts. A film this enamored of movies—and of itself—simply can't be denied; the performances are terrific, and it sports some real anxieties concerning voicelessness. Plus, there's an amazing trick dog, turning on the charm in a time when gags were enough.—JR

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New York Film Festival 2011

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