Wednesday, 13 February 2013

2012 films: #8


Directed by David O. Russell

Silver Linings Playbook continues an uneven tradition (Little Miss Sunshine was good, Juno wasn’t) of light and largely unpretentious Academy Awards nominees. Comedies with an edge. It’s good to have them around, beautifully lodged in the bottom half of end-of-year lists. This is clearly one of those films that snobs can and should hang on to. Steeped in romantic clich√©s that should render the whole thing shallow or, at the very best, passable but amusing, Silver Linings Playbook manages to be a minor 2012 classic.

There are many factors at play here (not least good acting), but in terms of the actual plot – I think it’s the farce element that gives the film its edge. Bradley Cooper’s character waking his parents in the middle of the night to vehemently disagree with Hemingway’s A Farewell To Arms; Jennifer Lawrence’s character giving away the hair-raising details of her sex life; even the clearly too-fucking-fetched American football theme – it all somehow distracts you from the backbone story that is neither too unpredictable nor particularly imaginative. Like I say, it works, and the experience is never less than hilarious and pleasantly titillating.

Pat gets out of a rehab (he had almost murdered his wife’s lover) with a plan to get his life back on track. Which means that he will have to return Nikki (the adulterous wife) and try to keep on the sunny side of it all (hence the title). And then… But that would have to be spoilers (yet again, you don’t have to be a genius). As I’ve mentioned above, the acting is another thing that puts Silver Linings Playbook above its numerous peers. Much praise should go to the film’s supporting cast, but ultimately it’s the odd, awkward, electrifying chemistry between Cooper and Lawrence that wins you over.

The film balances seriousness with pure undulated farce in such an irresistible way that you will forgive any flaws. Great stuff. After all, who doesn’t like watching lovely losers and beautiful freaks under pressure?.. 

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