Harlequin Presents/Riva author Heidi Rice talks in glowing terms about the non-talkie they're all raving about...
If you haven't already heard about it, the story - told in black-and-white and with silent-movie subtitles - is basically A Star Is Born seguing neatly into Singin' in the Rain. The gorgeous Gallic actor Jean Dujardin channels Douglas Fairbanks as George Valentin, a swashbuckling star of the silent era in Hollywood who's at the top of his game when the talkies arrive and destroy his career. Much of the film deals with his slow descent into penury as he refuses to embrace the new sound era and clings on to the now out-dated charm of silent cinema. But before any of this happens, George bumps into young and vivacious extra Peppy Miller (played by the cute-as-a-button and, well, extremely peppy, Berenice Bejo) at a premiere, and when she later turns up on the set of his new movie, they fall in love.
It is of course a brilliant conceit that this is a silent movie dramatising the demise of the silent era. And the fact that it has captivated audiences the world over adds a beautiful irony to the whole endeavour. But perhaps its most enchanting quality is that it tells a complex story in its most simplistic form — thus recreating the innocence of an era when audiences didn't need loads of hi-tech bells and whistles to appreciate the magic of cinematic story-telling. How cool is that, to be able to enjoy a movie as if you've never seen one before?
And Jean Dujardin is remarkably sexy... which doesn't hurt either.
My two teenagers in the end were a little bit non-plussed by the whole experience, but still captivated and engaged despite themselves. So much so that we're already planning to spring a Buster Keaton retrospective on the two of them for the next evening when we're all at home. And while they may not have loved the movie as much as their Dad and I did, they did adore the dog!
Although I should add the popcorn and cokes was a big mistake. Nothing quite so embarrassing as hearing your son munching and slurping loudly while watching a movie which, despite a phenomenal music soundtrack, really was completely silent in places!
You have been warned.
Heidi is currently doing a happy dance after having her 12th Riva novel accepted. Her latest release, The Good, the Bad and the Wild, is out now as a Riva in the UK and will be out in the US in July as a Harlequin Presents Extra. You can find her nattering about her books and her writing career (and assorted sexy guys) on her blog, on Facebook, on Twitter (@HeidiRomRice) or on her website.