Silver Linings Playbook (2012) Film Review

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I’m pretty sure this is a terrible film. But it’s a pretty good terrible film. Can I justify these two sentences? Let’s see.

Firstly, the plot. Bradley Cooper plays Pat, a thirty-something man who has just been released from a psych ward after a stint of eight months. He is returning to stay with his parents (Robert De Niro and Jackie Weaver)while he gets himself back on track. His goal is to see his wife, who has a restraining order against him, and get them back together. He starts spending time with Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), the sister-in-law of his best friend who is recently widowed and going through her own mental challenges.

Why is it a terrible film? I didn’t believe the choices that people were making. I didn’t believe their behaviour much of the time, and it felt that it was just playing around with the concept of mental illness. It was schmaltzy and almost predictable, although when any supposed twists are revealed, it is not clear whether they are hugely important or not. Despite my complaints that Hollywood films are often too obvious in painting pictures for the audience, in this case, I think the painting was only half-finished. Why is it a pretty good terrible film? I actually think the performances were generally great. The female love interest could have very easily been a manic pixie dream girl, but instead was somewhat more complex and damaged. What I really liked was the way information was given, especially at the start. It was a very slow reveal, and it really made me concentrate and become a part of the world.

Have I contradicted myself? Probably. I don’t want to see the film again. I don’t think it was good at all. But it was a bad film hidden behind lots of good devices and techniques, and I think it will trick a lot of people into thinking it’s a good film.

Bradley Cooper has been nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical) and a BAFTA for Leading Actor

Robert De Niro has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor

Jennifer Lawrence has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress, a BAFTA for Leading Actress and won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical)

Jackie Weaver has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress

David O Russell has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Director, An Oscar for Writing (Adapted Screenplay), a Golden Globe for Best Screenplay (Motion Picture), a BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay

Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers have been nominated for an Oscar for Best Editing

Silver Linings Playbook has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture

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