Sunday, January 5, 2014

'You totally have to see________!'

As a self-professed film geek living abroad I've not kept up with watching current cinema.  That's partly because films I might wish to see aren't playing here yet, if ever.  And if a particular English language film I'm interested in watching happens to be playing in a cinema near me, I then have to contend with a slew of subtitles, in both French and German, that I find visually distracting and a few minutes' film pause in the middle of the show that is just down right annoying.

Fortunately, I am able to rent movies via my cable provider thus bypassing subtitles and mandatory breaks.  Having heard very enthusiastic opinions on the film Silver Linings Playbook, I decided to rent it last evening.  Of course, the fact that the film was up for a number of awards, and, indeed, the lead actress in the film won an Oscar for her performance helped sway my selection of film.  Part of the problem with watching films seemingly after every one else back home has watched them is that one can develop certain expectations based on having heard SO much feedback from friends and family.  Everyone spoke about Silver Linings in superlatives:  that's my FAVORITE movie; her performance was the BEST; his portrayal of _________ was MOST convincing.  I almost expected to be bowled over, but I wasn't.

I liked the film, but I didn't LOVE it.  I thought the pacing was good and the story flowed fairly well.  The performances were good, but not stupendous.  I was, however, quite pleased to see Chris Tucker (The Fifth Element, anyone?) back in action after what feels like years and thought that his character was very well executed.  Jennifer Lawrence is a good actress, but I would not say that her performance was Oscar-worthy.  I mean she's hardly Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice.

The incomparable Jacki Weaver who played Cooper's mother in Silver Linings...
I am not sure whether the film dealt accurately and sensitively with the issue of bipolar disorder, but I would say that those who suffer from said disorder would not necessarily be prone to violent outbursts and verbal diarrhea as Bradley Cooper's character, Patrick, was.  Also interesting was the therapist's involvement in Patrick's private life: his partying down pre-game in the parking lot, his showing up at his client's house after being ejected from the game, and, finally, attending the dance contest with his client's family.  One last niggle would be the issue of the restraining order.  The estranged wife attends the dance contest, and, in doing so, Pat unwittingly breaks the conditions of the R.O.  Patrick then sees his wife from across the room, walks to where she's sitting and engages in a tete-a-tete.  The cop, who is seen throughout the film as someone trying to uphold the law, is sitting directly behind the estranged couple while they have their intimate chat and does not react.  Really?

As far as rom-coms go, it's a clever take on an old formula with a groovy soundtrack as backdrop.  I don't know if one 'totally has to see' this film, but it's worth a sit-through, if one is inclined.

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