Sunday, 9 December 2012

Silver Linings Playbook

This new Bradley Cooper vehicle has been billed as a romantic comedy in some circles – don’t let it fool you – this is much much better.

A film about seeing the world differently and the kindness of strangers.

Pat has had a breakdown. Finally out of hospital he moves back in with his parents on a conditional release, restraining order in place against him preventing any contact with his estranged wife.

But Pat wants her back and can’t understand why she and the world won’t, can’t, see how he has changed and what he wants to put right in himself.

Bradley Cooper doesn't really cut loose with his characterisation of someone suffering from a bipolar disorder - which is a very good thing. His portrayal is nuanced and his speech clipped. He doesn't express madness, but rather flails behind blank blue eyes; creating a sympathy and sadness one feels for the perpetual failure.

Cue Tiffany, a friend’s sister in law with similar issues. The two get together in a platonic bond over a deal. Pat helps her, she helps him. But it becomes much more. Jennifer Lawrence is the sugar in this cinematic brew. Her sudden outbursts veering from control to unhinged elicit the same feelings of despair for her we feel for Pat and as the film progresses we are left wondering as to how there can be a positive outcome.

There are no guarantees and with a real catharsis the viewer is left in an anxious state as we come to the denoument and realisation that no matter how we see the world sometimes we just can’t fix things with words.

The support is excellent. The film’s portrayal of frustration and fear when dealing with the two leads is the real success of an ensemble cast who show off not just the impact of imbalance on those suffering, but also on those they love and who love them.  

This is not a first date movie, but definitely a third date movie you can talk about on a slow walk home.


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