It’s Oscar time of year, my favorite of the award shows. As most writers, I love the movies. I usually run a fun Oscar pool with family and friends to see who can predict the most winners. It’s always been my Superbowl-the gowns, wise-cracking M.C. (Whoopi is my fave), long speeches, and of course the films! Part of my Oscar ritual is rushing to the movies to see as many of the nominations as I can. I’d like to share my reviews on movies and performances.
I’d like to start my reviews off with Silver Linings Playbook which checks a lot of the nominees boxes in categories of: Best Movie, Best Actor (Bradley Cooper), Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence), Best Supporting Actor (Robert DeNiro), Best Supporting Actress (Jackie Weaver), Best Director (David O. Russell), Adapted Screenplay (David O. Russell), and Film Editing.
First off, I’d like to add a quick disclaimer to this review that I am NOT a fan of romance or rom-com genres. I can count on one hand the romance movies that I enjoyed (The Notebook, We Bought A Zoo, and Bridges of Madison County are the only ones that come to mind). In fact, if I see Jennifer Anniston, Kate Hudson, or Katherine Heigl headline, I avoid the movie at ALL costs, usually caving in because my daughters and husband like those kinds of movies. The story is always the same-girl meets boy and falls in love, conflict that breaks them up, true love triumphs in the end, and Silver Linings Playbook (SLP) is no exception to basic plot. What makes this movie stand out are the characters, dialogue, and ongoing theme of mental stability.
To sum it up, Pat (Cooper), a manic depressive, loses control after finding his wife with another man. He reacts violently, and as a consequence, lands himself into a mental institution. He vows to get his wife back who in turns files a restraining order. Tiffany (Lawrence) is a young widow who faces plenty of her own demons. An unconventional relationship evolves.
I loved this movie. It wasn’t some grand, Hollywood, earth-shattering love affair that defies all barriers, but a much more quiet love between two very flawed individuals who lean on each other for help. I liked how neither of the characters entrenched themselves in endless therapy, meditation, and self-introspection, but chose a task to take them away from themselves.
Tiffany makes a deal with Pat to partner in a local ballroom dance competition in return for sneaking his letters to his wife. Her funny yet dejected performance is as brilliant as the nomination suggests. Despite her questionable sanity, she knows who she is and the work she has to do, choosing dance as a means of therapy. Pat, on the other hand, has yet to realize his problem and even plays the comparison game by suggesting that he is superior to her in terms of sanity.
The plot includes the hardship on the family unit when dealing with bipolar. A very powerful scene in which Pat goes “berserk” portrays the manic state by adding a third dimension to the character. DeNiro, always masterful, plays the quirky father with plenty of his own issues who tries to understand but loses his patience at times. Weaver also gives a fine performance as the doting, submissive mother who strives for peace within her family.Overall, this is a thoughtful, humerous, realistic, and interesting rom-com that kept me captivated from start to finish. Looking for something that isn’t too “Oscar” highbrow and relatable? This flick is worth the price of the ticket. Love to hear your thoughts and views-please leave a comment. Will try to see Zero Dark Thirty next week!