Study Guide

The Artist Genre

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Drama; Comedy; Romance

The Artist is a greedy movie. Not only does it span parts of two decades, examine the lives of two different movie stars, and straddle the line between silent film and talkie…it also takes more than its fair share when it comes to genres.

It's a comedy at first—there's a lot of mugging, (silent) laughter, and a great ongoing bit with an extremely clever dog. (Who's a good boy?)

But it also gets real bleak, real fast. It examines the coldness and money-grubbing of Hollywood—Zimmer is no saint—and shows you just how fast fame can run away from you. In fact, once George's star has fallen, he becomes a suicidal alcoholic. That's definitely drama territory.

Love, though, conquers all. Although Peppy and George never even smooch (we've been robbed), their chemistry crackles. Peppy's love for George leads her to save his life, and his love for her leads him to swallow his ego. Ain't love grand?

The Artist slips in and out of genres, inserting laughter in times of high tension and weird surreal worlds that turn into dreams. It keeps us guessing: Will George and Peppy ever get together? Will George get out of his slump? Is Jack the dog the true star of the movie?

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