So, The Artist, a movie with by a French director, with French stars, that takes place in Hollywood, is so completely dominating awards season that it’s earned 12 nods for the British kudosfest the BAFTAs. It’s already won three Golden Globes and four Critics’ Choice awards. And it’s nominated for all the other big pre-Oscar awards: NBR, PGA, DGA, SAG and Independent Spirit. But we worry that all this lofty buzz (not to mention the attention it garnered during Cannes) is actually doing the opposite of drawing certain people to the theaters. A critically acclaimed, bound-to-be-Oscar-nominated black-and-white silent movie by a foreign dude? “No thanks,” some of you are saying. But I am here to say you are wrong. Here’s why you should see it:
1. Uggie as “The Dog.” If you saw the Jack Russell terrier hamming it up onstage at the Globes, you got a tiny taste of his scene-stealing antics. Also, Robert Pattinson fans should recognized this talented pooch as Queenie from Water for Elephants. He’s not just a pretty face, either — his heroic feats rival Lassie’s in the pic, and he may have made us cry once or twice. There’s even a campaign for him to get an Oscar.
2. Jean Dujardin’s eyebrows. He made fun of them himself during his acceptance speech at the Globes, and they are indeed, worthy of their own prize in their expressive hilarity. And though the movie dips into dramatic territory, the eyebrows continue on their merry way, giving you hope that all will end well for the down-and-out silent film star.
3. The two non-silent scenes. We won’t spoil this for you, but there are two moments that are both funny and surreal, and after a whole movie without talking, their impact is astonishing.
4. Berenice Bejo is adorable and majorly crushworthy as Peppy Miller. From that first meet-cute moment that turns her from movie fan to movie star overnight, you will love her. You won’t even mind her storyline is borrowed from every star-is-born cliche in the book. Well, especially because she subverts that stereotype too.
5. The fashion! We want all of Peppy’s dresses and hats. And also Penelope Ann Miller’s and Missi Pyle’s. John Goodman also never looked this good, for that matter.
Basically, what we’re trying to tell you is, despite all these awards, it’s not too serious or arty or important. It’s funny and uplifting without being sappy. And you will probably walk out of the theater doing the Charleston.
[Photos: Weinstein Company, Getty Images]