Let me preface this by saying that my taste in film seems easy to quantify. "Oh, Jo likes old stuff. Anything that's old or looks old or smells old, she loves it." Not so! For instance, the friend who suggested I'd be loopy for "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" still has an earful coming to him. I enjoy a quality about old films and music that is very absent from most popular entertainment past 1965. But I'm not a glutton for nostalgia for its own sake. So when a friend told me that this film was right up my alley, I was skeptical. Yesterday I saw it. And today I have hope for mankind.
At the film's ending, which had me bawling ("but Jo, it was a happy ending!" "I know! I cry watching Gene Kelly dance, too!") my husband commented that it was as though the filmmakers made the "The Artist" just for me. True enough. The only way they could have made it more "just for me" would be to cast me. While I have a couple of problems with the script and the female lead, what works in the film is so enchanting I don't want it to take away any time praising it. The cinematography, the locations, the costumes, the lead actor... The lead actor is so perfect I swear Dr. Who plucked him from the time period. That grin! That posture! That breezy tap dance technique! He's going to bring swooning back in style. This was a film pure, simple, without the tiniest hint of cynicism. Derivative, yes, but wasn't that the whole point? A reminder of things past, but things worth remembering?
And with the Oscar wins, I hope people finally rediscover an aesthetic that has been lost for some time. Its something I can't sum up into a single word, but whatever it is, this film defines it. Don't be afraid of black and white and title cards. If you want to understand the fascination classic movies hold, this film will give you a big grinning clue.