Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Silver Linings Playbook, So Damn Charming!
Labels: Movie Reviews
Mental illness as romantic comedy, who knew?
Silver Linings Playbook, one of the biggest of the Oscar bait films, is one of those landmark genre films, whether anyone right now realizes it or now. Like Harry Met Sally before it, this film captures the feel of our pop culture and turns it back on us, making us both laugh and wonder about ourselves. In a genre that is, despite my endless enjoyment of it, admittedly formulaic and tired, Silver Linings is simply refreshing.
The movie is about a man named Pat, played by Bradley Cooper, who is released from a mental hospital after a nervous breakdown six months prior, caused by his wife's infidelity. Since his hospitalization, Pat's been intensely working on himself, losing weight (because cheating on an overweight Bradley Cooper is the only scenario that makes sense for the world) and improving his outlook on life. He is released into his parents' custody, played brilliantly by Robert DeNiro and Jacki Weaver, where he continues on his quest to revive his marriage (even though his wife has sold their house and left town). Along the way, he meets Jennifer Lawrence's Tiffany, a slightly unhinged nymphomaniacal widower. While it's potentially obvious where the story ends up, the way it gets there is quite hilarious and unexpected.
I'm just going to get straight into it; I am madly in love with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper after this film. Separately, they are excellent in this film, more than deserving of their Oscar nominations. Together, they are dynamite. Age difference be damned, they have a chemistry that works in both the quiet and boisterous moments. They are simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking, and even when they act absolutely ridiculous (it is a film about recovering from mental illness after all), you cannot help but root for them. Jennifer Lawrence in this film is equatable to Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, but younger and even better, and if she loses the Best Actress Oscar, there is no justice in the world.
The entire cast of Silver Linings Playbook is fantastic, which would've saved the film had it been a poorly written mess. The fact that it isn't, that it's instead a carefully crafted, joyous take on the dangers of blind love makes the experience all the more satisfying. Everything works, from the football backdrop, to the use of Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie Amour", even down to the ballroom dancing. it's irreverent, it's quirky, and it makes you heart burst, even at the fairly typical ending.
Pardon the football pun, but Silver Linings Playbook is easily the season's MVP.