Generally, comparisons of current celebrities to Gene manage to irk me in some way or another. Statements such as “He’s our generation’s Gene Kelly” only put a bad taste in my mouth. The ability to dance and smile does not make one equal to the presence Gene had. The talent is one thing (many others carry on that legacy), but the charismatic presence is another. While The Artist’s Jean Dujardin does not possess the same dancing abilities as Gene, he manages to capture that same charismatic presence. So, while the dancing eliminates him as “the next Gene Kelly,” it is the Kelly charm and smile that so many critics have identified when describing Jean. And I would have to agree. While Gene’s smile stands alone (in my opinion), Jean’s is awfully nice, too. The similarities I draw from between the two men stem from that twinkle in the eye that they use to captivate their audience. It’s that largely intangible quality that sets them apart from the crowd. It is what drew me to Gene and it is what caught my attention when I first heard of Jean a few months ago.
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