After Bridemaids (2011) pleasantly surprising entry at the 84th Academy Awards last year
only topped by mind boggling nomination of Jonah Hill as Best Supporting Actor, i kinda look forward for more dramedy genre to be recognized. Who would’ve known that this year Oscar recognized another dramedy this year as well, and to make it better its well injected by unorthodox romance as well. Silver Linings Playbook is making a buzz with 8 nominations including Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (De Niro) and Supporting Actress (Weaver), Best Actor (Cooper), not to mention the win of Best Actress for Jennifer Lawrence. In my frustration earlier this year i finally read the book, i figure why not since it is supposed to be good that it got nominated for adapted screenplay anyway. I admit i found a early copy of the movie before it finally start screening a few days ago in local movie theaters.
Meet Pat Solitano Jr. (Bradley Cooper) who just got discharge from rehab by her mom Dolores (Jackie Weaver) from a mental hospital due to an instability issue and undiagnosed bipolar, especially after an altercations triggered by his wife’s infidelity. All against his father (Robert De Niro) consent. He has one goal, he wants to change himself for the better so he can be reunited with his wife and have their happy ending, to get the silver linings, after all the dark things happened in the past. He got introduced to Tiffany Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence), a sister of his best friend’s wife, a widower battling a depression after loosing her husband. Pat and Tiffany story is not your generic love-at-the-first-sight type, they have weird dynamics of random emotional outbursts, trickery and false hope, laugh-out-loud while discussing their antidepressant and other mood altering meds, etc… So, will there be a happy ending for them crazy couple?
First of all let me tell you how i love this move, i liked the book better, but this movie is good :D I found the movie to be a refreshing cinema, amongst all the mellow-sparks roman-shit out there this feels like a fresh, non cliche tale of romance with twists. The lead have serious problem with themselves, they are mentally unstable, they have defects, and their journey to overcome their challenges (mainly themselves) are both amusing and heart-tugging. I think David O. Russel manage to adapt the book into a movie with its heart still very much intact. The adapted screenplay is quite different than the book. Funnily enough one of my favorite scene from the movie is the one that was not even in the book (The Parlay scene), which Lawrence and De Niro commander with every bit of their being! That was divine! I wonder why they changed the name and the ethnicity of Pat though in the book it was Pat Peoples not Solitano, and he was not Italian-American. I like the book for focusing more on the narratives of Pat’s effort to coming to terms with his feeling for Nikki, where his inner dialogue is more pronounced, while Tiffany only serve as a secondary arc. On the movie the focus is not solely on Pat, it expands the horizon of Pat world a little better than the book, and yes, focusing more, but not solely, on the romantic passive-agressive relationship with Tiffany.
The script and premise itself is intriguingly good, but the actors and actresses, that embodies the character from the script, just make everything even better. How mind boggling it is to have all four Leads and Supporting Actor/Actress got nominated for the Academy, mind you i doubt Oscar’s legitimacy more and more each year, but still its an astounding accolades for movie with $21 million budget. This achievement, however is quite astounding, the last film with four acting nominations in the academy was for Reds in 1981. This movie is also nominated in the big five nomination (for best leads, director, screenplay, and picture) the last time it happened was in 2004 with Million Dollar Baby.
Robert De Niro and Jackie Weaver, as Pat Sr. and Dolores Solitano, are both veterans in delivering characters that are grounded and real, a figure of old married couple who wants nothing more but to ascertain the happiness of their boy. Bradley Cooper as Pat was quite endearing and break the molds of the roles he usually typecast for. But of course all my adoration went to Jennifer Lawrence, as the broken widower Tiffany. She was intense, sensual, full of sparks, yet vulnerable, and deadpan funny in here. She can take any of her co-star and triumph by her acting alone. Apparently she was not considered as Tiffany especially due to her age (22) difference to Cooper (37), initially it was Anne Hathaway who has to drop out due to her commitment to The Dark Knight Rises (THANK GOD!). I Think O. Russel would not mind, especially now that she snagged that Best Actress title at this year’s Oscar.
Pat: You have poor social skills. You have a problem.
Tiffany: I have a problem? You say more inappropriate things than appropriate things.
Silver Linings Playbook give you an inviting unorthodox romantic drama and a chance to expand your sights from the mentally unstable point of view. But hey, who said that their insights is less witty, we might have to learn a lesson or two.