Fix the Economy. but First, Go See 'The Artist.'

By Brown, Tina | Newsweek, January 30, 2012 | Go to article overview

Fix the Economy. but First, Go See 'The Artist.'


Brown, Tina, Newsweek


Byline: Tina Brown

Some of the more earnest members of the 1 percent are flocking to Davos this week, expecting to hear from IMF director Christine Lagarde and do-gooder money machine George Soros, among other big shots currently trying to save the world. Both of them will tell you that while we here are obsessed with such daft (albeit deliciously entertaining) distractions as whether or not Newt Gingrich asked his vengeful ex-wife for an open marriage, the global economic crisis is gaining in a severity that could suck the life out of the U.S. recovery. Things ought to be scary enough to make us all crave the competent technocrat who turned around a 2002 Winter Olympics deficit of $300 million to a $100 million profit.

By that logic, Mitt Romney should be a good bet, but what's logical about now? The tougher the times, the more we long for the illogic of Feeling. All Romney summons is a square jaw, and suddenly in national polls he's flailing.

Movie audiences, too, want unlikely magic. The adored favorite for this year's Best Picture Oscar is The Artist, a black-and-white silent movie created by a French director about a debonair screen idol named George Valentin, whose career implodes when the talkies make him obsolete. Valentin is saved by the love of the enchanting starlet, unafraid of the future, who shoots past her former hero to talkie-time fame and shows him how he can reinvent himself by Astaire-like tap-dancing. At the art-house cinema where I finally saw it last weekend, the audience was so enchanted and uplifted they applauded at the end and skipped out into the cold January night smiling dreamily like an audience in the '30s finding a dollar in the street. …

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