We went to see “The Artist” last night at the Paris Theatre, the beautiful old single-screen cinema on 58th Street at the southeastern corner of Central Park, opposite the Plaza and the glass-cube Apple store, a corner that smells of horse dung and money. As Joe Queenan put it in this 2008 Times article about its 60th anniversary, ‘The Paris also has an understatedly elegant décor and does not cater to Irony Vixens who think that watching Icelandic films makes them morally superior to truck drivers.’ Indeed. Plus, it has a balcony!
For all these reasons it was the perfect venue to watch the film that’s going to get Oscar nominations, tons of press and a backlash, but for now let’s just enjoy. Since words like “whimsical” and “charming” usually make me run a mile, I’ll try to avoid them – and besides, the film is so inventive and elegant and grown-up it deserves more respect. It’s also proof that it’s possible to make a film that you could take your grandmother or your eight-year-old son to see and be pretty sure that they’d both love it. Here’s the trailer. But see the film: