Disclaimer: This is more an exultation than a review. By no means do I, in my otherwise self-conferred privilege to opine on things in general, consider myself worthy to even think of writing a review for this film.
So, if I were to imagine this movie being directed, it would be something like this: David O. Russell wielding a baton, orchestrating a breathtaking emotional cadence like no other and Jennifer and Bradley swaying like figures in a musical trinket box.
David O. Russell prods you right where it hurts. That’s what I hate about a good movie; The vulnerability in lending your heart to the director. Submitting to his mercy. The director, who palpates it, wrenches it then like a palliating dose of anodyne gradually soothes the pain. Pain, which brings pleasure, peace, joy , happiness, laughter and a multitude of emotions.It is cathartic; therapeutic on several levels.
The storyline is simple, poignant and endearing. Nothing heavy or cerebral. It stays with you much after the credits roll; Pat Jr.(Bradley Cooper), diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, is released from a mental institution where he was held for assaulting his wife’s paramour. He moves back with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Then he meets Tiffany Maxwell ( Jennifer Lawrence) , a recovering sex addict, who turns everything around and how! I’m not going into the technicalities of the movie nor am I going to reveal the plot. I have half the world doing that.
Jennifer Lawrence is resplendent. So versatile, young yet precocious. A YouTube top comment read that if you were to snip off only her scenes from the movie, the snippets would make a movie in itself. That’s a performance. “Ravishing”, said a friend who detested her in The Hunger Games, and added how she could not take her eyes off her for a minute. She was dumbfounded, unable to fathom Jennifer play such a role. I don’t blame her considering the fact that we all remember her as Katniss Everdeen or Mystique. She won the Golden Globe for this film and I hope to god she wins the Oscar.
Bradley Cooper has evolved as an actor. He has finally progressed from slapsticks (The Hangover) and action (The A team) to something more sensible and emotionally stimulating- bagging him his first Oscar nomination. It’s sometimes very infuriating when persons with latent capabilities do not harness them or channel them adeptly. That was Bradley until Silver Linings Playbook.
Silver Linings Playbook, adapted from Mathew Quick’s bestseller with the same name, is seemingly a drama but it’s speckled with humour which will, in the least, definitely put a smile on your face if not roll you off your seats. Pat and Tiffany’s encounters are brimming with awkwardness, rawness and fervour. It’s delightful to watch them on screen. And as if this was not enough Jacky Weaver who plays Pat’s mom, Robert De Niro who plays his dad and Chris Tucker who plays Pat’s zany friend from the institution give equally impactful performances. It’s no wonder that the film won The Best Ensemble Cast in a recent award function.
Another aspect I really liked about this film is that there is nothing idealistic about the way in which relationships are portrayed. Relationships are tumultuous, people are capricious, we all have our share of ‘faux-pas’, OCD is something all of us struggle with, we all want a happy ending and we all search for a silver lining. Every scene and character is relatable, lovable. The scene at the Diner , the morning run-ins, Pat trying to pacify the irascible Tiffany, the dance sessions and of course the scene with Robert De Niro and Jennifer are some sequences you have to look out for.
Silver Linings Playbook is a happy film. Soulful and redemptive. It endorses optimism, EXCELSIOR, and makes you feel good about yourself. It’s filled with delectable moments and poignant dialogues. I cannot write a comprehensive review for this film. Words will fail me. However, I found a retweet by a friend which succinctly sums up everything I loved about the film.
“Sometimes we find ourselves clinging on to the one thing that’s breaking our hearts just so we don’t feel so alone. I love that the two main characters bonded over their heartache and healed each other in the process.”
Let me just say it. I’m sure that it WILL NOT win the Oscars considering the Academy’s inherent bias towards period films especially if it’s one that bespeaks of the most prominent figure of American History – Lincoln. Seriously AMPAS, get done with it already. Silver Linings Playbook is easily the best movie of the year.
“The only way to beat my crazy was by doing something even crazier. Thank you. I love you. I knew it from the moment I saw you. I’m sorry it took me so long to catch up.” – Pat
“I was a big slut, but I’m not any more. There’s always going to be a part of me that’s sloppy and dirty, but I like that. With all the other parts of myself.” – Tiffany