This is as good a movie as I’ve ever seen or ever hope to see. And it’s such a surprise.
It’s filmed in black and white and as a silent film, about a silent film star, George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), whose name suggests Valentino and who looks enough like Douglas Fairbanks to pass as Zorro — the first Zorro — in a film clip. It’s not totally silent, though, and the occasional break-throughs to sound are so clever and witty you could squeeze them tight with happy gratitude. And then there’s the brilliant use here and there of silent film captions like the one where … well, you’ll have to see it to believe it.