Study Guide

The Artist What's Up With the Ending?

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What's Up With the Ending?

A lot happens in the closing shots of The Artist. The scene opens on a chorus line of men holding clapboards, as they fall away one by one to reveal a stage. George and Peppy dance a duet in unison, showing that they're making a new kind of film together—one they can both excel at.

They might not be speaking as they dance, but Peppy and George's tap shoes do the talking—conversing with each other playfully, and utilizing the new potential of sound. (From this point on, the film is no longer silent.) As they finish their dance, the camera pulls back to reveal all the gadgets and gizmos of the talkie production studio, the hustle and bustle on set, and a pleased-as-punch director.

This reminds us of another dance scene—think back to the beginning of the movie, when Peppy was an extra and George kept losing himself in their waltz-embrace. They've come full circle, but things are different now.

Whereas in that first dance scene, George was the big star on set and had all the power, in the final dance scene, Peppy's the celeb who invites George to perform with her in a show of equality. The old world of silent film (George) dances side-by-side with the new world of sound cinema (Peppy).

George's only words are also the last words of the film: "With pleasure." At last he speaks, ending his stubborn streak and leaving us with the sense that we finally understand him a little better.

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