In his Preface to the 1982 edition the C.S. Lewis Anthology, On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature, Walter Hooper contrasts the featured essayist with “literary critics” who
. . . were encouraging readers to find in literature almost everything, life’s monotony, social injustice, sympathy with the downtrodden poor, drudgery, cynicism, and distaste: everything except enjoyment.
Everything except enjoyment. This idea came to mind as I watched excerpts from the Oscars — a few hours after the telecast — and delighted in the success of Hugo and The Artist, the latter winning the lion’s share of the big prizes, including not only Best Picture, but also best actor for Jean Dujardin and best director for Michel Hazanavicius.
The film may offer no great insight into human nature, save to show that we enjoy a happy ending, celebrating instead the joy of making movies — and of telling stories. Unlike other critically acclaimed films of recent days, it did not stint on enjoyment.
Indeed, it seemed that, as he paid homage to silent film, Hazanavicius kept his focus on crafting an enjoyable film — and entertaining his anticipated audience. You leave this film with a smile on your face.
Let us hope that the idea of a movies which telling such a simple, sweet story and delights an audience regains the traction it once enjoyed in Hollywood.