Even with everything going on at the moment, I’m trying to keep up with the ‘In Box’ and there is a lot of writing lingering inside it. One of the things you discover when doing script work is that people use other movies as reference points. You’ll hear, ” a character like so and so in … ” or “you know how they did that act two twist in …” and so sometimes you find yourself spending a couple of evenings movie watching as a way of research. This is how I came about making a trip to Redbox and popping The Silver Linings Playbook into my dvd player.
I know Silver Linings Playbook has been out there about a year and a half now but I just never got around to watching it. I heard it was good, People kept telling me I should see it and I love the casting. I mean Jennifer Lawrence won a Best Actress Oscar for her role and that says a lot. Throw in Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro and the cast has to be worth the rental fee, right? I just never watched it! Sorry.
When I finally did get around to viewing it this week, I loved it! The premise is two neurotics, coming off life lows, meet up and through manipulation, end up falling for one another when everyone around them says they shouldn’t. In some ways, it reminded me of Benny and Joon in that respect (see what I mean about movie references?).
Bradley Cooper was really great as the husband out on early release after months in an institution for beating up his wife’s lover when he caught her cheating. However, it is clear to see how Jennifer Lawrence won her Oscar with this. She is cast as a young widow who lashed out after her husband’s death by having random sex – a LOT of random sex. Both characters are vying for a second or third chance before the weight of the world totally crushes them.
Robert De Niro puts in a solid performance as Cooper’s dad who has a history of violence himself and has turned to bookmaking to raise money for a business venture. I really thought this was one of De Niro’s better supporting jobs in a long time.
Though dealing with serious subjects, the script is laced with tons of humour and you’ll end up laughing as much as anything else. The movie has a quirky feel to it but I say that in a good way for it makes the film seem fresh and of a non-Hollywood formula.
One of my favorite scenes is very American and neurotic in its own way. Cooper and his brother go to an Eagles game – Philadelphia sports are a great backstory in this film – and a bus of Asian immigrants pulls up. At first they curse Asians being at the game but when Cooper sees he knows one of them, the two groups hang out like long lost friends. As they are hanging out another group of fans walk by and insult the Asians which leads to a rumble at the tailgate party. If you know anything about the way Philadelphia sports fans are, you’ll totally appreciate that scene.
I also love the dance contest at the end which is a pivotal moment in the film. It is freshly done and Lawrence can dance. She had the moves.
Bottom line is that this was great research to watch. If you are looking for a film that will force you to check your expectations at the door, then this is the one. It’s out on video and quality wise is better than 90% of the movies playing at your local cinema right now.