I just finished from viewing the film (online), and wow...it was a stunner. Breathtaking and nostalgic in every way. If it doesn't win the Academy Award, I will be legitimately mad. Now, I haven't seen The Descendants or a few of the other frontrunners, but "The Artist" is a once-in-a-decade type film, and one of the most unique film-watching experiences I've had in a long time. The silent era was magnificent, and this just brings you back to the era with such thrill, excitement, and visceral wonder that the tears roll from start to finish (even when the moments aren't emotional).
Jean Dujardin is fantastic as George Valentin, and his facial expressions alone manage to capture every little bit of his character's wide range of emotions. He is very resonant and a brilliant expressionist--I'm hoping for a triumph over Clooney at the Academy Awards, but I'm not so sure the Academy will agree with me on that. :|
The few other actors that there are are fantastic in their roles (Berenice Bejo--director Michael Hazavanacius' wife--as leading lady Peppy Miller is great, and the cute sidekick pooch Uggy is adorable and steals the show).
The direction is top-notch, and while there is no real dialogue (there are a few dialogue cards which keep things spiced up throughout the film) the plot is very basic and classic as far as the silent, classic era goes. One final mention about the film's technical aspects--the score is GORGEOUS. In a film where the only sound other than a few sound effects and a few lines of actual dialogue at the end (spoiler :P
) is the score, the soundtrack has to be exciting and keep you entertained. Ludovic Bource crafts up a wonderfully bubbly, feel-good, amusing and genuinely emotional score. Simply gorgeous, I'm rooting for him for the Oscar as well (since Desplat most likely won't be nominated). Overall, the feel good film of the year, a masterpiece and one of the best films of the year!