I went to see this on Sunday night with a couple of my ladyfriends - yep, one word, I'm making that call - and it was one of those rare occasions where a movie lived up to my expectations. I try not to buy into hype about movies - the only thing about the Oscars that interests me is the dresses - but it's been pretty hard to ignore all the fuss about Silver Linings Playbook. Thankfully, I was not disappointed. Here are the reasons why:
1. Bradley Cooper doesn't look quite so much like a dinosaur anymore.
I understand that many, many ladies out there find B. Coops one sexy fellow. He was even declared People Magazine's sexiest man of the year recently (apparently this caused small groups of Ryan Gosling fans to protest...like, hold literal protests), but I've just never been on that particular band wagon. One of my friends commented a while ago that he reminds her of a velociraptor, and since that moment whenever I saw him in anything, that was all I could think about. The resemblance is striking, no?
Also, I think the first movie I ever saw him in was that terrible He's Just Not That Into You movie and it was not really a good introduction. However, good news! As he ages, he looks less a velociraptor. Hence, I did not spend most of the film thinking about Jurassic Park.
See? Totally not prehistoric.
If you're not familiar with the storyline of Silver Linings Playbook, I'll give you a very brief rundown. Pat (B.Coops) has just finished an 8 month court ordered stint in a mental health facility, after beating up his wife's lover and being diagnosed as bipolar. He returns to his parents' house to try to rebuild his life and his marriage and meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a young widow with her own set of problems, and things get complicated/funny/interesting.
The film deals with some pretty heavy subject matter, but it's all addressed with just the right tone, at the right time. It wasn't always funny, but at points the whole cinema was cracking up. It wasn't always bittersweet, but there was more than one moment when I felt teary. It was the perfect level of emotional manipulation. And really, isn't that life? Sometimes funny, sometimes sad. Don't those two emotions go together like coffee and chocolate anyway?
3. Dance magic dance.
I am a sucker for a dance scene in a movie. SURPRISE! You would never have guessed, right? I'm not going to say too much because I don't want to spoil it for you, but the dance scene in this movie is pretty amazing. It's going to knock your socks off. As it should - both the actors and the characters worked very hard towards this goal.
4. Jennifer Lawrence.
I just think she's the best. I've said it before, and I'm pretty sure I'll say it again. It helps that every time I see or read an interview with her she comes across as completely genuine and hilarious. And frankly, anyone who says that their holiday to Belize was "unbelizeable" is my kind of person. For a pretty good ode to Jen, check out this article on HelloGiggles.
Also, I think she's a stone fox and she looks really good with dark hair. Just putting that out there.
5. We are all stardust
There's a scene in the Ethan Hawke/Julie Delpy movie Before Sunrise, where Julie Delpy gets her palm read by a lady in a charming little town square somewhere in Vienna. As the palm reader walks away she reminds them both that we are all made from stardust. Silver Linings Playbook made me think of that scene because it's so accepting of every character's imperfections - not just accepting, because that can be a really passive word - it loved each character for exactly who they were. If you believe the palm reader, we are all made of stardust, all of us are special and none of us are perfect.