Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that The Artist -- a black-and-white homage to Hollywood's silent movies of the 1920s -- is nearly silent itself, relying on characters' gestures and expressions, the musical score, and occasional title cards to tell its story of fame, fortune, and friendship. As such, it might not appeal to many kids, but those who really love movies may be drawn in by its references, setting, and old-fashioned celebration of cinema. There are a few tense/violent scenes, including one in which a distraught character puts a gun in his own mouth and another in which a fire gets out of control. You can also expect lots of era-accurate smoking and a fair bit of drinking, including some overindulgence. But there's virtually no language or sexual content, and in the end characters learn important lessons about the value of friendship and humility.
Some flirting, longing glances, close dancing, and chaste embraces.
In one tense/upsetting scene, it appears as though a character is going to commit suicide with a gun (he puts it into his mouth). Also, the movie opens on a mild torture scene (a character is shocked via electricity) that turns out to be part of a film within the film -- as are a few quick fight/chase scenes that follow. Another film-within-a-film sequence shows someone falling victim to quicksand. Also, a car crashes, and a reckless fire gets out of control and causes damage to property and one character.
One use of "damn" (on title card); one rude gesture (a character flips someone off).
The movie celebrates friendship/loyalty, old Hollywood, and the magic of the movies, though it also suggests that "progress" is inevitable -- and that some people, especially those who are no longer young or fresh, may be cast aside in the process. Characters eventually learn difficult lessons about being overly proud and turning away help and affection when they're offered.
Drugs / Tobacco /
Very frequent smoking (accurate for the era); mostly cigarettes, but also some cigars. Adult characters also drink (mostly cocktails/hard liquor), sometimes to excess; while drunk, one character has visions and makes a rash, dangerous decision.