Women on Film: The Beauty of an Emotional Silence

Sometimes, you don’t need words to express yourself perfectly.

Words, words, words – we live in a world where words tumble over each other like pinwheels bouncing off a roller coaster. Words seep into our consciousness through the screens on our hands, the pad on our desks, the hanging fixtures on the walls. Language snakes into our minds until it seems like there’s no escaping. Ours is a world of 24/7 rhetoric, platitudes, sales pitches, and pop-up ads. And we’re just surviving it.

So when a break in the cacophony comes along, it can be beautiful. Observe actress Berenice Bejo in “The Artist.”

It is 1927 Hollywood, and silent film star George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) faces the end of his fame and fortune with the advent of talking pictures. Bejo plays Peppy Miller, an upbeat dancer poised for great success who is certain to eclipse her mentor.

Berenice Bejo, who has been nominated for an Academy Award for her performance, claims that husband-director Michel Hazanavicius based the role of Miller on his “fantasy” wife.

“The real reason the film succeeds is because the story Michel wrote,” she told The Telegraph. “He wrote in images. Although I had no lines, as an actress, it didn’t feel to me as though anything was missing.”

Indeed, Bejo doesn’t speak one line in the movie, yet we experience everything she’s feeling as if she’s infused herself straight into our capillaries. It’s a gorgeous performance in one of the loveliest films to grace Hollywood in a long time. Accompanied by peerless acting from co-star Dujardin, Bejo reminds us of the power of silent expression. Sometimes, you don’t need words or speeches or drawn-out commentary to make your point. You don’t need a post, or a text, or a letter. You can simply take someone’s hand. You can dance. Smile. Cry. And all without saying a word.

Katherine Butler

Katherine Butler is the Beauty Editor of EcoSalon and currently resides in Los Angeles, California.