We owe a debt of gratitude to silent films. That may seem like an obvious statement but today the films of that era are considered quaint, and to an extent they are. The progress of cinema is to create an imitation of life and the world has sound. But what if it didn’t? What if the real-world was a silent movie and those who had thrived in that environment had their existence disrupted by the cacophony of noise and progress? Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist explores this idea but never in the weighty, heavy-handed manner. It’s a silent movie about a silent movie star but rather than coming off as self-indulgent and irritatingly meta, The Artist is always playful with its conceit. Its light-hearted attitude, thoughtful subtext, and a magnificent performance from star Jean Dujardin, makes for a engaging and uplifting love letter to silent cinema.