12 January 2013

Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell, 2012, USA)

Over the years I've had a number of friends who were bipolar or some other kind of crazy that was in the same ballpark. Lord knows I'm probably not too far off that field myself. Thus, I confess to having been pretty excited about seeing this movie, though somehow I resisted, presumably out of fear of disappointment. I finally went to see it the other night after the Oscar nominations were announced since it was one of the handful of nominated films I hadn't seen yet. While I'm a little surprised by all the acting nominations, I have to see I was more or less satisfied with the movie. There are a few rough patches toward the beginning, generally the parts that try to present "mental illness" to the naive audience. I understand how problematic those scenes can be so I wasn't really surprised that there were moments that didn't quite ring 100% true. I was surprised that every scene involving the shrink seemed off. I don't know if he was miscast or the part was 'miswritten,' but it was a minor distraction. It's a slight film, but at its heart it's more or less truthful about its subject matter. True to the director's style, the film contained scenes that were so energetic that they seemed improvised, and these were probably the strongest moments in the movie. I really believe that the scene where they make the crazy bet that sets up the big climax is the reason this film received so many nominations. I understand the criticisms about this movie being too optimistic about this couple's chances. Certainly there will be rough patches, but I don't think that negates the ending. B+

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