The Artist (2011)

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Certainly the film that stands out most from the rest this year, The Artist has gained great popularity mostly due to its antiquated style. It genuinely feels like a film made in the 1920s. Ironically, its fresh and innovative feel comes from its imitation of the past. It makes little effort to tell a new story or to even tell a classic story in a new way. It has been done: think A Star is Born (young female ladder-climber admires male Hollywood star, falls in love, then rises to fame with help from the leading man as the leading man falls from glory) meets Singin' in the Rain (a light-hearted take on the end of the silent film era with a lead actor greatly resembling Gene Kelley both in looks and charisma plus dancing and physical comedy).

Though the story is very simple and familiar, The Artist remains captivating. There are several modern self-aware jokes that nicely compliment Hollywood Golden Age style comedic scenes. The Artist entertains from beginning to end with surprisingly great pacing and upbeat charm. Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo have limitless energy and amazing chemistry, and they look gorgeous in monochrome.