Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
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This movie seems to be confused. 38 year old crazy, unemployed dudes, who live in their parent's attic do not get the love of 21 year old Jennifer Lawrences.
Just thought I'd clear that up.
It started off pretty good but in the end it was cheesy and improbable.
The last of the nine Best Picture nominees I saw in the cinema this year, and only the last because when it was given its relatively short UK cinema release I decided to give it a miss. I was probably as surprised as David O. Russell was when it picked up a mass of award nominations.
It's undoubtedly cut from a different cloth to your standard rom-com, that goes without saying, given Russell's extremely eclectic pedigree including "Three Kings", "I Heart Huckabees" and "The Fighter", and the clear intention to represent something of the real experience of living with bipolar is to be praised, but unfortunately it really messes it up in a big way.
The film starts out in indie drama/comedy territory with some refreshing dark elements mixed in with the character based comedy, comedy that is mostly dependent on Pat saying outrageously inappropriate things to relative strangers, and in my favourite moment throwing a copy of Hemingway through a window in disgust - easily the best use of "A Farewell to Arms" since "Evil Dead 2".
Putting Jennifer Lawrence's grieving Tiffany into the mix is the real catalyst for the film, and she is as impressive as expected as the ballsy widow, and a good match for Cooper, easily giving his best screen performance so far and showing he really is an actor of some clout. De Niro finally ups his game and gives something resembling an acting performance for the first time in years, and most surprisingly Chris Tucker is excellent as well in a supporting role.
But much like Pat's split personality the film takes a drastic turn into generic rom-com territory in the last quarter, clearly marked by a bizarre scene where Pat Senior discusses a "parlay" with his neighbour and baseball buddy over a bet and everyone fervently joins in as if this is the most important conversation in the film. This is meant to be funny, but it isn't, compared to the actually serious conversations about mental illness and grief that have some before it, but is there to set up the terrible dance competition denouement and 11th hour confessions of love we've seen a million times before. It's worth seeing for the performances and the quirky, often funny, sometimes painful script, but Oscar worthy? Not in my playbook.
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In 4 official lists
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This movie ranks #74 in TimeOut's 100 Best Romantic Movies
This movie ranks #387 in The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
This movie ranks #505 in Academy Award Best Picture Nominees
This movie ranks #615 in All-Time Worldwide Box office