Over the weekend I watched this film that won five Oscars (including best picture, best director, and best actor). It tells a story of love and redemption, the kind that used to be a staple of the early days of black and white silent films, and it tells it in the form of a black and white silent film, with a music soundtrack only. The story is about actors and filmmaking set in the period around the 1930s during the transition from silent films to talkies, so it is an interesting exercise in self-referential filmmaking at various levels.
While the premise of the film is a little gimmicky, it is quite enjoyable. Since I watch a lot of old classic films, seeing a black and white film was not particularly novel for me.
But what really gripped me about the film was the magnificent acting performance by the dog Uggie, a Jack Russell terrier. The main character George Valentin (played by Jean Dujardin) is a star of silent films whose dog also acts in his films. The dog is his constant companion and goes everywhere that he goes and appears in almost every scene and to my mind completely stole the film.
Uggie is an incredible actor and should have got an Oscar too. He has received other honors but apparently this will be his last film as he has retired.
Here is Uggie on TV with Ellen DeGeneres.
Oh, and here’s the trailer for The Artist.