Friday, February 1, 2013

In Which I Review Silver Linings Playbook

If you can't tell, I'm trying to watch all the films nominated for Best Picture this year, a task that is proving to be easier than I thought. And at that, I'm really enjoying all of the films this year. I have a couple other movies in the review queue today, so there will be more of this.

Silver Linings Playbook sort of hit the world out of nowhere. I had heard of it only because every Hunger Games fansite I like to check in with every once in a while posted a lot of coverage for it, seeing as Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Katniss, has a major role in the film.

This film centers around a guy, called Pat, who has just been released from a mental hospital. He has had undiagnosed bipolar up until this point, just diagnosed as the film begins. Anyway, the world is not as it once was for Pat. His wife has put a restraining order on him, due to the fact that he beat up her lover when he found them in the shower. Pat still believes he and his wife might get back together one day, even though it's painfully obvious how delusional this belief is, to his parents, to his friends, and to the audience. Then, at a dinner with old friends, he meets Tiffany. Tiffany is recently widowed, brash, and crazy. And somehow, these two can't seem to leave each other alone. Tiffany says she can help get a letter to his wife, in return for helping her out in a dance competition. The rest? Watch the movie, it'll tell it much better than I ever could.

If that story sounds a little weird, the movie makes it work. The characters feel very real, despite their oddities, and in the end, you do like most of them. I also enjoyed how even the characters without an official diagnosis aren't portrayed as "normal people". They have their problems and idiosyncrasies too. There is no textbook normal person in the movie. That's nice to see too. There is no voice of reason who's only purpose is to be the voice of reason. Everyone is shown in all of their flaws.

This is a very well put together movie that tell it's story effectively. The portrayal of bipolar disorder is startlingly accurate and not glamorized, something that is very rare in modern Hollywood. Silver Linings doesn't glamorize a mental disorder. It tells it like it is, something I'm sure a lot of people are appluading, myself included.

In terms of actors,  this is quite a treat. As I mentioned before, Jennifer Lawrence is sort of the show stealer here. Tiffany is brilliant character, the only one who doesn't try to tread softly around Pat, and speaks her mind no matter how vulgar or strange it might be considered. Bradley Cooper in the role of Pat is also wonderful. Like I said, he plays bipolar accurately and without sugar coating anything. Deniro and Jacki Weaver are good as well. Seriously, there's not a bad performance in the bunch, I'm running out of adjectives.

Silver Linings Playbook made me laugh, cry, and empathize, as any good movie should. Highly recommended.

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