The Artist currently stands at 87 on metacritic (tied with Deathly Hallows and Moneyball). A.O. Scott’s review in The Times:
This is not a work of film history but rather a generous, touching and slightly daffy expression of unbridled movie love. Though its protagonist mourns the arrival of sound, “The Artist” itself is more interested in celebrating the range and power of a medium that can sparkle, swoon and suffer so beautifully that it doesn’t really need to have anything to say.
…The rise of the talkies has almost always been chronicled on film from the perspective of sound. It could hardly have been otherwise. “Singin’ in the Rain,” with its exuberant music and bright colors, does not so much revisit the old splendor of cinema silence as obliterate its memory, much as “Sunset Boulevard” unlocks a world of ghosts and shadows among the remnants of the faded Hollywood pantheon. “The Artist,” as aggressively entertaining as any musical, is measured in its mourning and eclectic in its nostalgia for old movies. There is a bit of music lifted from Bernard Herrmann’s “Vertigo” score, a breakfast-table montage inspired by “Citizen Kane” and a story line that makes “The Artist,” in essence, the latest (and also in a way the earliest, but surely not the last) remake of “A Star Is Born.”
All of this suggests a feast for antiquarian film geeks. It certainly is, and Mr. Hazanavicius’s skill in replicating some of the visual effects of early cinema is impressive. But he evokes the glamour and strangeness of silent movies without entirely capturing the full range of their power. His film is less a faithful reproduction than a tasteful updating, like a reconstituted classic roadster with a GPS device and a hybrid engine.
Still, it is a smooth and very exciting ride. If “The Artist” revels in gimmickry and occasionally oversells its charm, it also understands the deep and durable fascination of the art it embraces. Like Martin Scorsese in “Hugo,” another modern-day journey into a dream of the movie past, Mr. Hazanavicius knows that the audience’s pleasure arises at once from the complex displays of craft in the service of simple, direct effects. We like to be dazzled by the whirring, kinetic machinery, thrilled by the conjuring of what should be impossible and swept away on currents of pure and powerful feeling.