The Artist (2011)
This is a silent, black-n-white film about two movie stars who worked during the transition years from silent cinema to the "talkies." The film begins in 1927 when George Valentin is the gold standard of silent stars. He lives and looks the part — slicked back hair, thin mustache, good looks, and a Beverly Hills mansion with Clifton the butler, Skippy his dog, and a massive painting of himself befitting a good-natured narcissist. A flirtatious friendship with the young upstart Peppy Miller spells trouble when George dismisses movies with sound, and his career craters, and she rockets to his former fame when she realizes how "people want to hear me talk." The Artist is a visually rich extravaganza, a nostalgic trip down movie's memory lane, an example of how constraints breed creativity, and a reminder of how technological means have forever transformed cinematic ends. Who ever knew that a movie without violence, sex, special effects or even words could be so powerful? A whole lot of people, it turns out.