“Silver Linings Playbook”

by Jef Cliber. 0 Comments

“Silver Linings Playbook”

This is just a great movie.  Without question, it is no wonder why it has been Oscar-worthy & why so many in Hollywood are talking about David O. Russell.  “Silver Linings Playbook” ranks pretty high on my scale of “quirky romantic comedies that aren’t really rom-coms”.  Too confusing a category?  Well, let me give you a comparison: “Elizabethtown”.  It has that serious side to the story, with all the sentiment and emotion, but it also possesses this quirky off-the-cuff humor that I love.  Truthfully, this is a brilliant bit of acting by just about EVERYBODY in the film.

Let me cut right to it: Bradley Cooper is exceptional in this film.  “Silver Linings” will make him a household name (which I kind of already thought he was, but apparently not in the UK).  It is hands-down his best role that I have ever seen (and to date, I think I have seen all but 4 of his films).  I really liked him in “Limitless” but hated him in “Valentine’s Day” (although that was really the character) – and don’t ask me about “the A-Team” (Yeesh!).  Cooper demolishes this movie from start to finish.  I mean he kills it!  By the way, that’s a total compliment.  Cooper has this raw reality that comes out in this performance that is stunning.  I wish he wasn’t up against Daniel Day-Lewis for the Oscar this year, because he otherwise has a solid shot at it.

Jennifer Lawrence is downright amazing too.  You forget sometimes how good she was in “the Hunger Games”, but then you see her in this and you have to say “she really is a very powerful actress”.  She has this control to what she does that seems effortless.  It’s like the girl was born to be dramatic.  And it’s a subtle kind of dramatic too, not over-the-top.  Great example of what I am talking about: Anne Hathaway in “Les Miserables” is over-the-top dramatic whereas Helena Bonham Carter in “The King’s Speech” was subtle dramatic.  It can be understated and still powerful, ladies.  However you slice it, Lawrence delivers a stellar performance as Tiffany here.  She has a Golden Globe & a SAG Award to prove just how awesome she is in this.

The supporting cast is equally brilliant, too!  It was like a breath of fresh air to see Chris Tucker and Julia Stiles again.  I just love Chris Tucker; he has to be one of my favorite comedic actors.  Seeing both of these actors in this film was like icing on the cake.  It was good before, but this just took it to a whole new level!  And Robert DeNiro tackled this quirky role and delivered yet another amazing job!  He was perfect for this part though, and in a way that’s hard to describe.  (See the movie first and then see if you agree with me on this one.)

David O. Russell wrote and directed “Silver Linings Playbook” and he scores a big thumbs-up from me on both of those jobs.  If you look at his resume as both writer and director, there’s a really bizarre collection going on there.  “Three Kings”, “I Heart Huckabees” (a film I absolutely loathe), and “The Fighter” are the big three that jump out at me when I see that list.  How bizarre is that?!?  After his success with “The Fighter”, clearly David O. Russell knows how to direct (even though he did not win, 2 of his actors did!).  I wish him continued success at this year’s Oscars, but I don’t know how he will fair going up against Spielberg and “Lincoln”.

There’s this bright vigor to this film that I can’t quite explain.  Russell has these talented actors and is really bringing their best out on screen, but it’s controlled with a soft touch.  There’s this scene where Cooper is having a meltdown outside of a movie theater…or nearly a meltdown.  The best part of this film is that it takes you sort of inside the character’s mindset and lets you see how they see.  It’s not crazy; it’s just different.  The near-meltdown scene is a prime example.  He starts to lose it, but then he comes back from that edge and the entire scene feels like it could be any one of us watching the film.  You find yourself nodding along and saying to yourself “I can totally see something like that happening”.  It’s not just that it feels believable – it feels like something you’ve already seen in your own life. 

The bottom-line is this: “Silver Linings Playbook” has some quirky humor to it as it tells an unflinchingly real story of two people who are struggling with life, but oddly find their salvation in each other.  It’s not your average feel-good romantic comedy.  In fact, I don’t particularly think it fits into that category.  Regardless, this one is well worth a watch.  If you can, make it out to the theater to check this one out.  It has fresh feel to the entire film that separates this one from the herd, and it deserves all of its Academy Award nominations.

…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE


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