I rarely venture out to the movie theatre for a grown-up movie. I have seen most of the family friendly releases—but, generally skip ones that have my interest. I do, however, seem to have a last minute knack of heading out during the days before the Oscars and choosing the winning movie for my rare ticket purchase. I saw The English Patient, Driving Miss Daisy, Chicago, Million Dollar Baby, and several other Best Picture Winners just days before The Oscars over the years. When I had the urge to see The Artist this weekend—it was almost my internal prediction that it was set to win big at this weekend's Oscars. My husband was not up for a black and white, silent film—so I went with a friend. I loved it, but there are a few things you should know before seeing The Artist in the theater?
Yes, The Artist IS a silent, black and white movie. Yes, I know that this should be obvious to most by reading The Artist description and watching the trailers—but, the black and white theme carries through the entire movie (not as flashbacks or anything like that) and, aside from the 1920’s style musical score—it is essentially a silent movie. For those accustomed to blaring surround sound—it’s a different experience.
Choose seating wisely. If you generally sit in the rear, near the exits—it may be a good time to move up front. During a number of times during the movie, sounds from other movie patrons out in the exit hallways became distracting. There were also times that a sound from an adjacent theatre room carried over into ours. Front and center may be worth your effort for this show!
Skip the popcorn, cell phones and crunchy sound makers. While these are not all rules, of course, watching a silent film requires a virtually silent audience. Even the sound of an occasional tummy growl can be heard by the entire theater if timed right. (I know—I watched the film before lunchtime!) While a cell phone is always discouraged in the theater—it’s possible to get away with an emergency text or two from the kids during most movies. Not this one.
Pay attention. So many times at modern movies, we get lost in the sounds and colors and chaos of a film—most of which distract from the actual plot (if there is one) and emotions of the characters. There are a lot of funny scenes in The Artist—and a lot of chances to revisit those body language reading skills that we’ve lost via text message and Facebook over the years. It was nice to watch—and understand—an entire movie with actors and actresses expressive enough to speak volumes while saying nothing at all.
Keep an open mind. Relax and enjoy the movie. I love classic movies (and, for me—those aren’t Rocky or Dirty Dancing as the term seems to have greatly expanded to include in recent years!) I love so many of the original black and white films—even many of the silent ones! I love a change of pace from today’s action-blow-em-ups and suspense movies that I’ve seen at least 85 times in 85 not-so-different titles. This was an ideal movie for me. Even if the genre is not your favorite style of movie—give it a try with an open mind. After an initial deprogramming period—many find themselves so involved in the film that they forget about the format.
If you haven’t seen The Artist—I encourage you to see on the big screen before it disappears! Keep an open mind—and enjoy the movie!