Thursday, 21 November 2013

Silver Linings Playbook

Lowdown: Two mentally ill people recover together.
Mentally ill people aren’t always as good looking as Bradley Cooper (Pat) and Jennifer Lawrence (Tiffany), even when taking into account the bruise Pat has on his nose all film long. That, however, cannot distract from the fact Silver Linings Playbook is a nice, charming, film.
We start with Pat as he is released from the mental illness institution that's been hosting him for the past eight months. We gradually learn of his circumstances as he settles back into his parents’ home: we quickly learn he is still unstable; we meet his father (Robert De Niro), who doesn’t seem that great himself and whose current occupation is illegal bookkeeping; and we learn Pat’s main driving force in life is the quest to rejoin his wife, Nikki. However, the feeling is not mutual. Pat has to work hard to for Nikki to accept him. He is not intimidated, though: his plan is to embrace the positives of life, its silver linings.
One such silver lining could be Tiffany. That is, if she wasn’t so messed up herself. The wife of a now deceased cop, she quickly established herself a firm reputation for being a slut. Thus when Tiffany is introduced to Pat, it is unclear whether that is a blessing or a curse. Slowly and gradually, though, they will help one another recover. Not that this is going to be easy.
Our affairs for the duration of Silver Linings Playbook are set in Philadelphia, which is a bit of an exception for an American film. Rocky taught us Philadelphia is reserved for working class heroes, and indeed that is the case here: sure, Silver Linings Playbook has its sexy stars, but their affairs are very working class indeed (assuming one ignores the fact we never see them working for a living). Or rather, this one is a very down to earth movie, dealing with simple things in life: family, relationships and football. Nothing glamorous here.
The silver linings are provided through touching drama and fine acting. Now, I heard through the grapevine that Lawrence got herself an Academy Award for this one, and I do acknowledge her acting as well as her screen partners’. However, if I were to choose my pick of this acting class crop, I would definitely go with De Niro. I think the guy shows real signs of talent – one day, he might just get somewhere.
Best scene: Perhaps for all the wrong reasons, I liked the way Pat gets into trouble upon going to see his NFL team when some Anglo patriots decide Indian team supporters should go “home” instead. Whether you like his way of standing up for his principles or not is one thing; I just took notes of a phenomenon that is not uncommon in Australia, too.
Notable scene: The freshly released into society Pat is greeted by a mother that prepared “crabby snacks” especially for him. Given this is this blog’s first posting under its new Crab Juice moniker, one can argue I could not find a better film to [re]start things off with.
Overall: Look, there’s nothing truly special here other than a simple movie about simple people. Given Hollywood’s standards, though, that is really special. 3.5 out of 5 juicy crabs.

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