Thursday, May 2, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook

Like all the other nominated films, I saw clips of this one on the Oscars presentation.  The clips shown were fine - a microcosm of the film itself.  But this one surprised me when I saw it.

It's a great movie - a quirky, off-beat love story about two wounded people finding each other and learning to heal.

Bradley Cooper as Patrick is amazing.  In the beginning of the film he is manic, uncontrolled and uncontrollable.  Of course that might change if he wouldn't hide his pill in his mouth and spit it out when the nurse could no longer see...

The action begins in an institution and continues when his mother comes to check him out of the place with permission of the legal authorities.

He comes home to his family and finds things changed.  He continues to have manic episodes because he doesn't take his meds - some of the episodes are spectacular, some are sad.

Then he meets Tiffany, widowed sister-in-law of one of his buddies.  She has issues of her own, although she's not under any restraining orders.

They come together, clash, move apart, and come back again to clash and clash once more.  To say the relationship is rocky is being kind.

They are undeniably drawn to each other, although he refuses to admit it for a while.

Surprisingly, the film has a lovely ending, truly something out of classic Hollywood, with just a bit of a quirky turn.

The cast is stellar.  Robert De Niro plays Pat's father, a manic patriarch himself, obsessed with the Philadelphia Eagles.  I just had to laugh at the statement about the character that he had been forever banned from the Eagles stadium for fighting too much....Eagles' fans are infamous for being in-your-face confrontational about their team.  (Remember I'm a Dallas Cowboys fan, so we have been on the receiving end of some of that behavior...) There is a story that the Eagles' fans once booed Santa Claus.

Bradley Cooper is the perfect blend of a wounded man teetering on the manic edge of insanity, and a fragile victim who has been deeply hurt.  His character grows amazingly during the course of the story.

Jennifer Lawrence (Tiffany)  who won the Oscar for Best Actress for this film, is magical.  Dealing with her own trauma, she acts out in different ways than Cooper's character does.  There is a wonderfully clever scene where she heals the schism between Pat (Cooper) and his dad (De Niro) by refuting the arguments with logical precision.

Both Lawrence and Cooper must play a FULL range of emotions, sometimes changing instantly - not easy to do.  Plus, they both hold their own with De Niro, one of our best American actors today.

Chris Tucker has a small but memorable role as a fellow inmate to Cooper, who turns out very well.

The entire cast is well-chosen and well-directed.  The film is a pleasure to watch.

Also, the film's score is very nice.  It's an eclectic collection of music to say the least, but works perfectly in the context of the film.  One song, "Girl From the North Country" by Bob Dylan, sung by him and Johnny Cash, was so good, I downloaded it and now listen to it on my Kindle Fire...good stuff.

In the world of romance novels there are the HEA (Happily Ever After) variety and the HFN (Happy for Now).  A cynic would say Silver Linings Playbook is the HFN kind.  I'm not so sure...the romantic in me said HEA.

See it.  You'll like it. 

Until next time ...

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