I've seen more than a few films of the era, and none of them equal what was done here. The story is not original. It could, in fact, be considered a remake of Singing in the Rain, but it is so much more.
Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo were fantastic! They would have both been silent stars. They didn't need dialog to express themselves. I am, of course, anxious to see OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies just to see them both in a talkie.
They couldn't have picked better support than John Goodman and James Cromwell. I have seen both many times and consider them outstanding actors. They brought their talents here and no one could have done it better.
I would be remiss if I didn't give props to Uggie, who payed The Dog. I'll have to check out Mr. Fix It to see more of him.
The cinematography was brilliant, and the music sublime. I have no doubt that I will see this film many times. In fact, I wish it would come back to the theater so I could see it there.
Kudos to Michel Hazanavicius for an outstanding film. I am really hoping to see more of his work in the future.
If you are in the mood for a different type of cinematic experience then this film will deliver. The cinematography is wonderful, all the actors pull off great performances and when sound is presented to the viewer it is done in a clever manner.
The Artist was pretty boring for the first half. I didn't care about what happened to the characters and I didn't really find any of it interesting. Fortunately, it picked up a lot in the second half after you-know-what happened, but even then I wouldn't consider it a very good film overall. It being silent and black-and-white is really all it had going for it; if you removed that, it would be a terrible movie and nobody would care about it at all.
At first I really thought it was a real silent film! Perfectly done, nicely paced, and weaved around pleasant surprise. Like @Compuesto56 said, this is a perfect movie for helpless romantics. Wonderful.