I saw The Artist at The Charles Theater during a Sunday matinée. The place was packed and the credits rolled to applause from the audience, myself included. Peopled clapped. At a movie. How many times have you had that happen? It hasn’t happened that often to me.

I’m completely convinced The Artist is going to take home the Best Picture Academy Award. I still haven’t seen The Tree of Life of The Descendants, so maybe I’m not the most qualified to judge. But…

I love this film.

Yes, the plot is a little predictable. There wasn’t a single moment that I didn’t see coming. And making a silent movie about the era of silent films could (and should) be called a gimmick.

But none of that matters.

Best Actor? You bet!

Director Michel Hazanavicius sweeps you up in his vision and you’re just along for the very enjoyable ride. Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo are a delight to watch on screen. The dog is adorable. The music is amazing. The editing and cinematography are perfect.

It all just works.

Dujardin is definitely a star. He made me laugh and he damn near made me cry. All without saying a word. Bejo has a beauty and freshness that only black-and-white film can do justice. It’s a cliché, but a true one, to say she lights up the screen. However, all the actors, no matter how small the role, bring their A-game.

This movie is a love letter to Hollywood and it includes many of the character actors that make Hollywood great. If you love film and TV the way I love film and TV, you’ll spend the entire time recognizing people such as John Goodman, James Cromwell, Missi Pyle, Beth Grant, Joel Murray and Malcolm McDowell. [NB: Sorry, Penelope Ann Miller. I didn’t recognize you. IMDb had to clue me in.]

I dare you to go see this film and leave the theater without a smile on your face.