Silver Linings Playbook

November 24, 2012 at 10:07 am | Posted in 2012 | 2 Comments
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◊ ◊ ◊ ½

This was a genuinely funny and touching film that was better than it should have been but not quite as good as it could have been.  The majority of the movie has an edgy uncertainty to it that befits a story about a man struggling with his Bipolar disorder. Bradley Cooper does the best work of his I have seen, which, admittedly, isn’t saying much as I have only seen him in “The Hangover” and the tv series “Alias.”  He instills his character with a manic intensity that rings true.  He has the right blend of earnestness, blind certainty and delusion such that the audience can laugh at him but still root for him.  Likewise, Jennifer Lawrence shines here.  She shows the same toughened vulnerability and rawness she had in “Winter’s Bone” but she has matured as an actress  and there is greater depth here.  In contrast to Cooper, who’s wide-eyed expressions spoke of a mind too confused to be aware, Lawrence told us everything in her face.  Her damaged, angry character is a perfect foil to his expansiveness.  De Niro is also excellent Cooper’s father and he develops a very real person out of what could have been a caricature.  And Jacki Weaver, who plays his mother, threw me for a loop.  She was so fundamentally different from the Oscar-worthy character she played in “Animal Kingdom” and her American accent was so flawless that I could not place her until I looked her up later.  This chemistry leads to a fantastic first half (or so) of the movie.  It’s very funny, moving and slightly dangerous; it does not always take the easy road.  However, after the NY Giants game, there is a noticeable shift as all sorts of characters behave less realistically (like Cooper’s psychiatrist who all of a sudden starts hanging around the house like a family friend) and you get the sense that David O. Russell (“Three Kings,” “I ♥ Huckabees,” “The Fighter”) is trying to tie things up with a bow.  He is.  So, the film ends smoothly and sweetly but I shouldn’t complain; the ending works and is endearing and left the audience feeling good.  It just wasn’t quite as true as I wanted.  The film started with such a brittle, bittersweet energy, with a bit of a sharp bite, that I was sad to see the all the rough spots smoothed out.



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  1. It may not pack the punch of O. Russell’s previous-work, but taking in mind the different tones and audiences; I think this will be the one I always stop to watch on television while I’m channel surfing on the weekends. Good review.

  2. I agree Jennifer Lawrence is a star! This film shows her true abilities.:)
    Here’s my review –

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