The Artist Reawoke My Humanity

There’s been a little film called The Artist that is currently making the rounds in Hollywood and getting some attention.  Many have probably seen it, in Los Angeles at least, but it hasn’t quite been in wide release yet. The notable thing about The Artist is that it is silent…and when I first heard this fact my brain started to race with reasons not to see it. After all, when am I ever entirely silent anymore? In my daily life I am completely inundated with technology (I actually think I might be addicted to my iPhone, but that’s another post altogether). The idea of silence is somewhat fear-inducing…it makes me think of that time in the middle of the night where we are completely alone with our thoughts, battling the demons that are pushed away by noise and other distraction in the daylight hours. And needless to say I don’t go to the movies to be aware of my own deficiencies, I mostly go to escape. But since I fancy myself a movie buff, and heard good things, I decided to go and tolerate it joylessly like I do with many of the obscure films I think I must see or dense Russian literature.

However, The Artist swept me up in its grasp with very little sound at all. It’s not completely soundless – the score is definitely enjoyable – but it is, with a slight exception, wordless. The story itself was at times heartbreaking and at times adorable, but where I was really swept away was in the wordlessness itself. I realized it was in fact a relief to not hear everything spelled out, and I enjoyed the mystery in that. In a strange way, so much nuance is lost when everything is explicitly stated and our nerves are frayed by constant overstimulation. So after seeing the movie I wiped a few tears from my eyes and quietly walked home, for a moment enjoying a lack of the stimuli I usually impose on my environment. I actually think it’s sad that I rarely find myself bored or contemplative anymore because it’s those places where growth and character and humanity are built. I’m waxing poetic but seeing this film really made me think about a need for silence in my life, and how much I truly appreciate it if I am willing to go there and just BE.

I really encourage anyone to check out this movie……and if not for the reasons mentioned above, for the amazing Dog, who makes my mutt seem like a moody bitch.

Also, a CNN opinion column on the subject: