People always say that falling in love makes one a little crazy. But what happens when it involves two people with legitimate mental health issues? I'm crazy. You're crazy. Let's be nutcases together. And while the film is no PSA, it does hope that in the end, it gets better.
Silver Linings Playbook has mostly been sold on the media as the romantic comedy dark horse at the Oscars. All four of its lead actors have been nominated for awards. And I loved
Katniss Everdeen Jennifer Lawrence. So I thought I would give this movie a shot.
The thing was, the first few minutes were kind of slow going and I was afraid that the movie was going to be this year's The Help, ie, awards hype, lead actress whose work I liked, and yet the movie bored the hell out of me that it was abandoned by the way side. To be fair, it mostly had to do with Bradley Cooper settling in after coming out of an asylum in Baltimore. He apparently beat the shit out of his wife's lover after catching them in the act.
The screen lit up when Jennifer Lawrence's Tiffany was introduced. People usually avoid uncomfortable topics out of politeness and propriety, and this movie's way of telling us that Pat (Cooper) and Tiffany are not "ordinary" is by not letting them have any social filter. Thus, it's okay for Pat to ask Tiffany how her husband died, or how many people she slept with to cope with the loss, or what it's like to sit on a woman's lap. Or for Tiffany to weasel out of Pat the very traumatic incident of walking in on your wife having sex with another man in the shower of very own home, while your wedding song is playing in the background. I totally understand his meltdown.
The scene that sold me on this movie was when they were out in the streets and then Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie Amour" plays and Pat freaks out. Tiffany talks him out of going batshit crazy right then and there. "Are you going to spend the rest of your life scared of that song? It's a song. Not a monster. Come on, breathe. There is no song." Bradley Cooper is mostly hyper in this movie, and I like that Jennifer Lawrence plays it subtle rather than match him with the high octane acting.
It's mostly a by-the-numbers movie. Sure, her Tiffany has issues, but she's still the female character in the romantic comedy who slowly walks the male lead through the path of calmness and sanity--and hopefully, romantic feeling are returned. Tiffany teaches Pat the value of equal trade--I am loathe to say it's unselfishness, because the girl has her own motives--he must do something in return if she's to sneak in a letter to his wife, who has a restraining order against him. I'm not quite sure when Tiffany falls in love with Pat. I'd like to think it's that "There is no song" moment. Otherwise, that moment when she walks out when Pat finally encounters Nikki in the ballroom is just way too late.
Bradley Cooper does have his own subtle moment. I like that scene where he gets a response to his letter to Nikki, who says she might show up at the dance competition. Pat stands outside, reading that (computer printed) letter, and gets a big bright flame of hope that maybe, just maybe, his wife might also still be carrying a torch for him, too.
Random thoughts about this movie:
1. Raising the stakes by participating in a dance competition and then (maybe) fall in love during rehearsals has been done before. My favorite incarnations: Baz Luhrmann's Strictly Ballroom (1992) and the 1996 Japanese movie Shall We Dance?
2. Even then, I want all of Jennifer Lawrence's dance studio outfits. For this leotard obssession, I blame Cassandra July.
3. I want to know what Pat whispered to Nikki. It was an awfully long moment. (In my head, he probably said, You don't deserve me, you cheating female dog.) Thought not that long that Tiffany was still within a block or two of the dance competition venue. But that camera pulling out after the kiss? I cringe.
4. I probably need to watch it again in the future, if I have time. Otherwise, this was just an okay movie and I don't get all the hype. For all I care, Pat could have been played by Gerard Butler--the role is certainly his territory. But the movie won't be as incandescent without Jennifer Lawrence. She makes it liveable--especially for a movie that is clearly following Bradley Cooper's point of view. I certainly will understand if she wins. I probably won't be as forgiving if Anne "One take, bitches!" Hathaway wins.