Author Topic: Silver Linings Playbook  (Read 11391 times)

bb6634

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Silver Linings Playbook
« on: November 23, 2012, 10:01:43 PM »
Enjoyed it.  It plays to David O'Russell's strengths in depicting dysfunctional family and capturing a place - in this case the Philadelphia suburbs.  Has competent (De Nero, Cooper) to very good (Lawrence) performances.  Jennifer Lawrence still amazes.   But the film felt slight.  Minor O'Russell.  I felt the same way about Silver Linings as I did about Moonrise Kingdom; both showcased what we know a film maker is capable of but never transcended it.  (Not that every film needs to transcend; it is nice to just see what makes a film maker so appealing.) 

 However, there was this weird thing during the screening I attended - a mostly full theater:  There were several walk-outs.  It started with several teen girls who left maybe half hour after the Jennifer Lawrence character was introduced.  Maybe they were expecting something more rom-com,  some comedic smash-up of Hunger Games and Hangover if that is possible.  But there were several older couples who left too - which I found bizarre.  It was as if they had accidentally walked into a David Lynch movie.  I get that having two mentally unstable main characters may be a turn off, but the film makers really soft peddle the mental illness without sacrificing the general likability of the characters.  At least I thought so.  Heck, Girl Interrupted was more explicit.  So why the walk-outs?  Maybe people expected something more comedic...  something more wacky, which Russell avoids.  I don't know. 
 
« Last Edit: November 23, 2012, 10:03:14 PM by bb6634 »

FLYmeatwad

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Re: Silver Linings Playbook
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2012, 11:53:32 PM »
Thinking back the one thing that consistently stands out to me is that this film used a Hell of a lot of close ups.

Totoro

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Re: Silver Linings Playbook
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2012, 01:35:18 AM »
Bradley Cooper was awesome. Jennifer Lawrence was incredibly inconsistent. I thought the scene, "Excelsior and the Parlay" was delivered in a very flat way by her. At times, the film felt designed to give the actors "moments". Her scene in the diner where she pushes the plates off the table felt like she was projecting more than living in the moment. Cooper was a lot more subtle in his darkness. Russel relied too heavily (and thus too noticeably) on rack focusing. DeNiro didn't show much of his range. Weaver was given a truly thankless role. Chris Tucker didn't need to be there at all. He is literally only there to be the crazy/funny black man and given that he is one of three non-white characters in the film, it doesn't give the script much depth.

The story was adequate. I don't care for this kind of New England football craziness humor so a ton of the dialogue fell flat. The third act posed the question of "Why is this movie being loved by critics again?" with just how predictably "romcom-my" it gets. Overall, the film isn't particularly deep, heartbreaking, or even profoundly interesting as Russel's previous works like The Fighter or I Heart Huckabees. It is actually pretty safe and somewhat even cookie-cutter despite the strong performance by Cooper in the center.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2012, 01:37:29 AM by Totoro »

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Re: Silver Linings Playbook
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2012, 12:34:36 PM »
Enjoyed it overall. It's wildly uneven but its hits are bang-on. Likeable characters and performances from those playing them (and Beansie from The Sopranos!).

Having recently watched David Mercer and Ken Loach's In Two Minds (1967) and Family Life (1971), both of which look at the social and familial roots/consequences of mental illness, I found Silver Linings Playbook a bit superficial and, at times, problematic. Think I might just prefer Loach's more 'respectful' approach, of allowing his actors the visual/physical space in which to (inter)act and embody their characters, rather than heightening and/or stifling the mood and 'subjectivizing' things by upping the aesthetic, intruding upon actors' spaces, etc.

I got swept along happily for the most part, though, including that Lost In Translation-like inaudible whisper, and it's a good job, as upon reflection I realised that the whole mental illness thing's just a Maguffin that's all but forgotten about after the hour mark.

One of those films that wraps up just at the point at which the 'real' drama would begin?

Alan Smithee

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Re: Silver Linings Playbook
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2012, 02:09:02 PM »
Enjoyed it overall. It's wildly uneven but its hits are bang-on. Likeable characters and performances from those playing them (and Beansie from The Sopranos!).

Having recently watched David Mercer and Ken Loach's In Two Minds (1967) and Family Life (1971), both of which look at the social and familial roots/consequences of mental illness, I found Silver Linings Playbook a bit superficial and, at times, problematic. Think I might just prefer Loach's more 'respectful' approach, of allowing his actors the visual/physical space in which to (inter)act and embody their characters, rather than heightening and/or stifling the mood and 'subjectivizing' things by upping the aesthetic, intruding upon actors' spaces, etc.

I got swept along happily for the most part, though, including that Lost In Translation-like inaudible whisper, and it's a good job, as upon reflection I realised that the whole mental illness thing's just a Maguffin that's all but forgotten about after the hour mark.

One of those films that wraps up just at the point at which the 'real' drama would begin?

I love anything Beansie's in Paul Herman is such a great character actor hes been in so many Scorsese and Woody Allen films its hard to keep track.

Totoro

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Re: Silver Linings Playbook
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2012, 02:03:58 AM »
Jennifer Lawrence's character is a subverted take of the "Manic Pixie Dreamgirl". Her existence in the film is to pretty much save the male lead from himself and her character exists rarely outside this one singular use. However, instead of being bright and cheery, she's aggressive and her psychosis is relatable to Cooper's character so he falls for her easier.

In short: a very shallow performance and character that is getting oddly over-praised by critics.

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Re: Silver Linings Playbook
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2012, 02:25:32 AM »
Jennifer Lawrence's character is a subverted take of the "Manic Pixie Dreamgirl". Her existence in the film is to pretty much save the male lead from himself and her character exists rarely outside this one singular use. However, instead of being bright and cheery, she's aggressive and her psychosis is relatable to Cooper's character so he falls for her easier.

In short: a very shallow performance and character that is getting oddly over-praised by critics.

disagree

they address that exact question of her agency in the narrative when she stands up for herself and asserts her biggest want which even her dead husband wouldnt help with - and she isn't saving him from himself in that she's assisting him w/ his goal yet inserting herself wherever possible in order to meet her own needs

a great character inhabited by a performance more dynamic and praise-worthy than her relatively simplistic winter's bone role

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Re: Silver Linings Playbook
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2012, 10:14:43 AM »
Yeah, I feel like Lawrence is arguably the only thing worth watching in the film. Cooper's performance and character aren't all that great, especially early on when he's aggressively belittling Lawrence and making her into some massive joke. He's so self-centered and unbearable that I'm not rooting for him at all.

What impresses me about Lawrence's performance is that she's playing a character who is largely written as this kind of cartoon character who I am seemingly asked to laugh at with Cooper until the script decides it needs us to actually care about her so the stuff that was being played for laughs actually isn't all that funny anymore even though it was never funny to begin with it was all kind of tragic but O'Russell frames it quasi-comically. But, to her credit, she does a great job at playing a human all the time, even if it's at odds with the way the filmmaker presents the character.

Cooper, conversely, is just kind of this self-centered blank slate. Not good at all.

Totoro

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Re: Silver Linings Playbook
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2012, 04:08:39 PM »
Jennifer Lawrence's character is a subverted take of the "Manic Pixie Dreamgirl". Her existence in the film is to pretty much save the male lead from himself and her character exists rarely outside this one singular use. However, instead of being bright and cheery, she's aggressive and her psychosis is relatable to Cooper's character so he falls for her easier.

In short: a very shallow performance and character that is getting oddly over-praised by critics.

disagree

they address that exact question of her agency in the narrative when she stands up for herself and asserts her biggest want which even her dead husband wouldnt help with - and she isn't saving him from himself in that she's assisting him w/ his goal yet inserting herself wherever possible in order to meet her own needs

a great character inhabited by a performance more dynamic and praise-worthy than her relatively simplistic winter's bone role

Her biggest want is essentially a romantic gesture made from a man. Hence, she's only here to service a man or want a man to service her.

And, no, that's complete bs that she's not inserting herself to save him from himself. Remember the scene where it's revealed that the mother told her where Pat runs so she can run into him? Her whole romance with Pat is completely based on her inserting herself into his life so that she can save him by getting into a relationship with him. She cares for him, she loves him (why, I don't know, but in these narratives where a "manic pixie dreamgirl" stereotype exist, women are tools for male readjustment, not real characters).


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Re: Silver Linings Playbook
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2012, 06:35:21 PM »
Jennifer Lawrence's character is a subverted take of the "Manic Pixie Dreamgirl". Her existence in the film is to pretty much save the male lead from himself and her character exists rarely outside this one singular use. However, instead of being bright and cheery, she's aggressive and her psychosis is relatable to Cooper's character so he falls for her easier.

In short: a very shallow performance and character that is getting oddly over-praised by critics.

disagree

they address that exact question of her agency in the narrative when she stands up for herself and asserts her biggest want which even her dead husband wouldnt help with - and she isn't saving him from himself in that she's assisting him w/ his goal yet inserting herself wherever possible in order to meet her own needs

a great character inhabited by a performance more dynamic and praise-worthy than her relatively simplistic winter's bone role

Her biggest want is essentially a romantic gesture made from a man. Hence, she's only here to service a man or want a man to service her.

And, no, that's complete bs that she's not inserting herself to save him from himself. Remember the scene where it's revealed that the mother told her where Pat runs so she can run into him? Her whole romance with Pat is completely based on her inserting herself into his life so that she can save him by getting into a relationship with him. She cares for him, she loves him (why, I don't know, but in these narratives where a "manic pixie dreamgirl" stereotype exist, women are tools for male readjustment, not real characters).

Hmm, am I misunderstanding your definition of "saving him from himself"? What aspect of himself is she saving him from? I see her entertaining his delusions and goading him on about getting back with his wife. To whatever extent she wants a relationship with him is much more about saving herself than him, but again that's only one facet of her.

I'm seeing her biggest want as competing in the competition because she enjoys dance. She enjoyed dance and wanted to do the competition even when she was with her husband, so it's not just a means to meet a guy. She likes dancing. Yes she mentions the romance of it but alongside focus and collaboration and discipline (and earlier therapy). To me that's pretty well-rounded and motivated and in keeping with real life hobbyists. This isn't like Elizabethtown or Garden State in those respects.