Just in time for the Oscars
Directed by: David. O Russell
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Julia Stiles, Chris Tucker, Shea Whigham, Brea Bee and Jackie Weaver.
Got to be fair here, but I wasn't expecting this movie to be as great as it turned out to be. Sure, the trailers and advertising of its stars and director had Oscar bait all over it, but seeing it officially on opening day was the best matinee I've spent in 2012. This is that one movie of the year where I felt compelled to ask Mr. Nolan if I could politely put Dark Knight Rises in second place. Its one man's opinion of what is the best of the best, so I'm not really looking for a response on "Why would you? Anything was better than Batman", or something similar.
This is the story of a man with bipolar diseases who yells "Excelsior!" just to get through the day and think positive about his next step. You feel compelled to root for him regardless of what he wants because at this point, he's the underdog, and we always want them to win, because why would we root for the purebred? He wants to get his life back by returning to school and get his job back, get his marriage back in order with the woman who cheated on him with his boss, and he wants to know why an author would ruin an ending to a good book. He meets Tiffany, who is equally troubled, but healthy at mind as far as mental stability goes, but she's far from perfect, which makes her a perfect sync to his scrambled software.
This is the best I've seen Bradley Cooper perform since Limitless, a movie still fresh in the new decade that proved he can handle complex character with loaded dialogue without needing to catch a breath. He sort of plays the same character, only more awkward and who really needs to limit his curiosity. A good actor needs just as good an actress to follow and compliment his character, and Jennifer Lawrence Brings this to the table. The young actress brings such realism to her disturbed character, named Tiffany. She has a tragedy occur in her life where her husband dies, and she begins to act out in ways that the community wouldn't agree on. She meets Pat, the main character and she is drawn to his weirdness. He's awkward and straightforward. He's told not to do something, and he does it. She's that female character who decides to turn her interest into an experiment in hopes to change him, but she wants him to himself, the way I see it. Her performance shines when she snaps at everyone, including Pat. You can see it in her eyes, and believe me, she proves to be a woman you don't want to piss off in a dark alley.
Silver Linings Playbook as a complementing ensemble of actors like Robert de Niro and Chris Tucker. Since De Niro is the now the current nominated Best Actor, I would have to trace his performance to the scene where he and Pat have their father and son fist fight. Emotions are going left and right without control and you think Pat is going back to the looney bin, but all is well in Excelsior, but not without its price. The movie also shows how a family, or rather the father, would use his own child as a good luck charm to win best on football games. Part of the storyline to keep everything interesting, but it bothered me a little, though not enough to write it off. I would however, write off Lawrence's character in her moment of being the football expert. It turns me off to see a woman make her case that she can know about sports and be in the same room as her male counterparts. Why? Because they always come off as a bitch. There's a difference between knowing about something, and throwing it into someone's face. Still, it helped boost her credibility as an actress, so she gets a certified pass. Chris Tucker's character may not be the holy grail of supporting roles, but the man knew how to tone down between funny and serious, and it's a light you don't normally see him in, given his past works like the Rush Hour franchise and Fifth Element.
David O Russell knows where to drive the flow of the story. The appropriate shots, how close he needs to be to the actors and when to know when its enough and move on to the next scene. Post can do a lot of things, but there always needs to be a director, even though post doesn't get the credit they deserve half the time, until we see the bonus features. When's the last time you credited a crew member other than the producer or director? Playbook has a natural color palette that feels right with the tone of the script and its characters.
Overall, every year there's that one movie you can get really invested in, be it on an emotional level or technical. It deserves its nominations, including Best Picture, so its fairly obvious that I want it to win all the right categories. If it takes the BIG one, I can rest happy. If not, well, whens the last time someone's complained about being nominated? It is always an honor, even if the race is too political.
Written by: Bawnian©-Dexeus.