June 1, 2013

Some Thoughts on Silver Linings Playbook

When a film gets Oscar buzz I am immediately wary. Ever since Crash won the best picture I cannot trust anything the academy exalts. However Silver Linings Playbook actually looked good, and I heard a lot of good things about it from people who had good taste in movies. I went in with pretty high expectations.

The film is mostly about mental illness and dealing with life when things don't go your way. But at some point it changes to be about family and love and hope. At some times it is a comedy; sometimes a drama. It tries to make light of some heavy stuff, and asks a lot of the actors when they are not merely shouting at one another.

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence give us characters that are interesting to watch, but I never got past the feeling that both of them were playing at something. I was never convinced that either of them were actually crazy. They were merely actors trying to act crazy. I am not one to judge what a crazy person has to act like. I mean, I don't think anybody can say for sure what truly makes somebody crazy. In the scope of the narrative. I didn't find them to be crazy enough for my liking. They did shout a lot, so if that means one is crazy then they nailed it.

I was very aware I was watching actors on a screen the entire time, but that doesn't mean the movie was devoid of charm. In the end it was quite "cute"... if not a little convenient or, dare I say, forced.

Overall I liked Silver Linings Playbook. It was fun to watch. The acting is interesting. While I think Bradley Cooper did the better job, I enjoyed the movie more when Jennifer Lawrence was on screen... but that might have little to do with her acting prowess and more to do with dance pants.

I didn't find the script and overall narrative to be quite as compelling as the academy seemingly did. There is some potential meaning in the fact that it was very unextrodinary events that brought the characters together in the end, but I can't deny that the payoff was slightly disappointing. It could have been saved with the confrontation scene between the two would-be lovers, but that whole thing fell flat for me. I guess I'm just not a romantic.

Maybe the movie tried to be too much. As a comedy, it wasn't all that funny. As a serious piece of drama, it never had the right tone. As moving pictures about characters going through life (albeit strange) it kept my attention and entertained me for a couple hours. That is all I ask of a movie nowadays anyway.

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