One of the things I hoped for with this move was that we would find some ways to spend fun time together while doing so was still possible and feasible. To that end, I had scheduled a couple of "togetherness times" during the week. This week the plan was to go out to lunch and a movie. We missed lunch. I had D, our fabulous new handyman, installing towel bars, grab bars, and all kinds of other bathroom necessities and the job took a little longer than I had hoped. But we still made it out to a movie, and it was far easier than in our previous home with a shorter drive, closer parking, and a far shorter walk from parking lot to movie theater. Also thrilling, to me at least, being the movie junkie that I can become when the opportunity presents itself, is that this particular theater seems to have a lot of coming attractions that I actually want to watch, probably far more than G can stand, so it is possible that I may sneak off for a cinematic knitting break on occasion.
I chose The Artist as our first film-foray mostly because it is a silent film and even with headsets, G has trouble following the dialogue in contemporary films. Until recently, watching G watch films, I had not noticed how much faster we speak today, and how much faster the dialog is in new films as compared to older classic films from the mid-twentieth century. I also thought that the fact that it was in black and white would appeal, as G was an avid amateur photographer not that many years ago, and his preference was always for black and white film.
It was a good choice and we both enjoyed the film immensely. Jean Dujardin is absolutely fabulous, with an incredibly expressive face, a great sense of commedic timing and command of body language. One feels almost as if he is too much for today's movies, which is of course not true, and that he would have been a perfect silent film star as he performs beautifully, with both subtelty and an expansiveness that remains controlled and perfect even at those moments where the movie could have really run away into a roller-coaster ride of rampant melodrama. I highly recommend the film as well as the way it rather slyly plays with the idea that it is a silent, black and white film, about a period when films were making the transition from silence to the "talkies". It is also, apart from the purely charming story, and interesting study in how success, over-confidence and arrogance can lead one to resist change, with possibly devastating psychologic effects as well as how one must find new ways to define oneself in an ever-changing world. I know, I know, I'm probably reading too much into a fun film to watch, but it is more than simply a remake of "Singing in the Rain", although the inspiration is obvious, and is well worth watching. The final twist, the one that kind of pulled it all together for me, was at the end, when you learn that George Valentin's voice was fine (of course Jean Dujardin's lovely French accent helps), confirming that it wasn't the industry alone that pushed him aside, but his own difficulty in finding a way to reimagine himself.