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November 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The Artist is arguably the most enthusiastically reviewed movie of the year. Other movies may have received a similar amount of praise but not the kind of cheers that this black-and-white, mostly silent movie has garnered. Back in May, when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, Peter Bradshaw of Britain’s Guardian newspaper, wrote: “The happy ending had me on my feet cheering throughout the final credits. I can’t wait to see it again.” At the Toronto Film Festival in September, Liam Lacey of the Toronto Globe and Mail pronounced it “a rarity, an ingenious crowd-pleaser.” Now, consider Kenneth Turan’s review in today’s (Friday) Los Angeles Times. After calling it, “the wonder of the age,” he writes that it “manages the impossible: It strikes an exact balance between the traditions of the past and the demands of the present, managing to be true to the look and spirit of bygone times while creating the most modern kind of witty and entertaining fun. Look on this work, ye mighty of Hollywood, and rejoice.” A.O. Scott in the New York Times awards the film 3.5 stars, withholding a half star because it sometimes “revels in gimmickry and occasionally oversells its charm.” However, he concludes, “It may be something less than a great movie, but it is an irresistible reminder of nearly everything that makes the movies great.” Ready for his closeup in The Artist is French actor Jean Dujardin in the lead role of an actor caught up in the chaos that hit the acting profession in Hollywood with the advent of sound movies. Lou Lumenick in the New York Post calls Dujardin “a gifted physical comedian who is equally adept at pathos. He will likely be Oscar-nominated for a tour de force that tips his derby to silent comic titans Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin.” Jack Coyle of the Associated Press adds, “He has an exquisite elegance, and builds a whole movie with only his gestures. It’s impossible to imagine The Artist without him, the wellspring of its charm.” (Also receiving critical plaudits for his performance in the film is Uggy, a Jack Russell Terrier, who plays Dujardin’s loyal companion and who received the Palme Dog award, the canine version of the Palme d’Or award, at the Cannes Film Festival. Several critics comment that Uggy steals every scene he’s in.)