MAD 08: Silver Linings Playbook

Posted: January 10, 2013 in Movie-A-Day
Tags: , , , ,

One of the benefits I’d hoped to reap from this Movie-A-Day project was to open myself up to films I normally would have had no intention of watching. Even though I generally appreciate all genres of stories, I do have a tendency to prioritize action and geek fiction (sci-fi, fantasy, superhero, etc). I know what I like, but it can sometimes get in the way of a good movie experience. Today, that movie experience would have been Silver Linings Playbook, a romantic comedy-drama by David O. Russell, a huge contrast to the last film I watched of his, 2010’s The Fighter. But I did go watch it, and I am glad I did. Russell has such a knack for portraying flawed characters with such grace and humanity, revealing their vulnerabilities and weaknesses in a way that makes you understand and sometimes even identify with their pains. With a remarkable cast at his disposal, not a single actor goes underutilized this fairy tale love story about two lost souls. From the wonderful leads of Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence to Robert DeNiro, everyone has their moment to shine. Even Chris Tucker (who literally hasn’t done anything but Rush Hour movies in about 15 years) was able to bring some humanity to what could have been just a bit part.

I don’t usually go for romances in general, and the kind of nice and neat happily ever after endings are usually an instant DQ from my list. But Russell knows his craft, and manages to make it all work without ever making it seem cheap, cliche, or childish. I walked into Silver Linings Playbook expecting a formulaic chick flick, but walked out with a new take on life, mental health, and what it means to find the one.

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