Danijel's Review of Silver Linings Playbook
Silver Linings Playbook(2012)
Silver Linings Playbook has been described in many different ways, properly so only if you look at it too broadly. It has, infiltrated in main narrative, themes such as bipolar disorder, OCD, sex addiction and job loss in these insecure times we live in, with some hyper-tetchy people as its subjects. Still, it's not a particularly complicated thing to classify. Break it down, and you get all of the elements of a romantic comedy. The fact that this genre has been dragged down the mud in last few decades in particular dosen't mean Davis O. Rusell's film should leave the comfort zone it works so hard to cover.
When Pat (Bradley Cooper) comes out of the psycrhiatic institution, he finds a lot of things which could trigger his bipolar disorder (for which he has an appropriate document as a proof). His wife has left him (he ended up behind the key because he beat up her lover), he can't come back to the job, and his obsesive compulsive father (Robert de Niro, doesn't have a proof for it, so it is not formal) has lost his job too, and is now planing to open a restaurant somehow. In the early stages of his rehabilitation, he meets Tiffany, who first serves as a madness evaluation meter, but has some ideas of her own about the direction of their relationship.
This is not a kind of filmmaking I usualy respond to, openly unsubtle, rough around the edges and sometimes schizofrenicaly pumped up to an extent that you expect the projector to go up in flames at any moment. These people expres their nature exclusively by means of language, using the rappid fire delivery as an out and out attack in desperate attempts to claim the right for hope. Nods to Rusell for calming things down somewhere in the middle and saving the movie. As he also penned the film, I got the feeling he writes not for the camera, but for the editing room. It is through editing esspecialy that he puts the nature and maybe even the existance of medical problems these people deal with entirely at our evaluation, showing us the border of insanity solely through basic human contant.
The most prominent theme in his film, that of finding positive reaction on every situation you encounter and than expressing it without being missunderstood, is almost brilliantly covered up, which makes this first and foremost a director's picture. He found a perfect sense for pacing, understood what he wants to achieve with it and saved the film from becoming a tyranny of cheep idealisam (the kind in which everyone who is not talking about happines and love to one another is deemed a cynic). And be certain the danger of that was always on his mind.
Jennifer Lawrence, who is 21 is cast against Bradley Cooper (37), in a move which inevitabely calls to mind the old days, where these kinds of films often lived and died out of that gap. While it's not hard to addmit that Cooper can not be equated to, say, Cary Grant in Charade, Lawrence takes full credit for us not having to perceive this as a situation which needs to be saved from either one of the actors. There is a sense of immediacy in her screen preasence, not very different from her character in this film, which doesn't allow anyone to think she hasn't had enought expirience to confront any co-star. Like Lawrence, De Niro is more than capable to carry out more complex characters, but given his track record in recent years, let's be gratefull he dignified us with this one.
Rusell's quest for freshness this material lives of before plunging into familliarity brought us stuff like the segment where characters overcome communication breakdown by investing all of the savings in one game of American football. Even that sort of nonsense shouldn't be able to spoil the picture. It appears in the second part where your involvment, if it exist, can't be shattered that easily. The same goes for the ending. This is one of the rare occcasions where a picture and its characters deserve to have a standard rom-com conclusion glued to it.