Moviegoers in Liverpool Complain that ‘The Artist’ is a Silent Movie

Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo in 'The Artist'

Many of us Americans have an inferiority complex when it comes to the British. Whether it’s their accents or their unrelenting and devastating use of irony, there are those of us on this side of the pond who instinctively assume that our former colonial masters are simply more intelligent than we are.

Sadly, when it comes to matters of culture, intelligence, and refinement, there are those of us who feel that, compared to the British, we’ll always be just a bunch of bumpkins.

Which is perhaps why the following story is so attractive for Americans — at least those of us who sometimes, out of sheer exasperation, just want to say: “In your face, Britain!”

And who do we have to thank for the opportunity?

The French.

As we figured everyone knew, the whole point of The Artist, the new movie by French director Michel Hazanavicius, is that it is silent.

(Actually, it has an ingenious soundtrack, but that’s a whole other story.)

It turns out that a few moviegoers in Britain didn’t know that The Artist is a mock silent movie or that it is a film about telling a story almost completely through visual images.

But there are those among us whose self-esteem is so low that the evidence of even the smallest amount of ignorance among just a tiny handful of Brits is enough to buoy our own fragile spirits.

The Telegraph reports that there were moviegoers in Britain who complained and asked for their money back because The Artist is a silent movie.

One moviegoer who didn’t complain, Nicola Shearer, told the paper that a staff member at the Odeon Liverpool One movie theater asked her if she knew it was a silent movie.

“Of course I knew it was,” Shearer, 25, said, “and I asked the usher why she wanted to know.”

The usher then told her that some people had asked for refunds “because there is no sound and the screen is smaller.”

Nicola said: “I thought it was really funny and laughed.”

And of course, we laughed along with Nicola — the intelligent graduate student — reveling in our good fortune to be more well-informed than some of her fellow countrymen.

Director Hazanavicius himself thinks the walkouts are funny.

“I have been told about it and I think it’s hilarious, actually,” he said. “If I could give any advice to people it would be that they should ask for their money back whenever they see a film they don’t expect. If it’s not written on the poster ‘this is a bad movie’ and they think it’s a bad movie, ask for a refund!”