When it comes to Silver Linings Playbook, both on-screen leads (Bradley Cooper & Jennifer Lawrence) step into roles that really do showcase both of their talents for being able to effectively play two unstable counterparts, each coming to terms with their lives and all the pitfalls thrown their way. The supporting cast is great, the set pieces and locations feel like another character in of itself (Philadelphia specifically), and the direction moves the story along very well. The film is a darkly funny and harrowing tale centered around dysfunctional families and their love for one another, all the while overcoming obstacles in the face of emotional immaturity and mental insecurity… so what’s wrong with it?
My first thought after viewing this was, “haven’t we seen this done by Hollywood way too many times in the past?”
Especially in terms of following the magic recipe for making funny/ emotional dramas that are meant to pull at your heartstrings and create lots of Oscar buzz – i.e. The Blind Side, The Descendants, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, etc., etc. I’m not knocking any of those movies, just saying that story isn’t that original: Boy meets girl, boy and girl pretend to just be friends for a while, boy and girl get thrown into a situation where they have intense prolonged contact, boy and girl fall in love and end up together. YAWN. This is what’s getting so much hype?
I don’t want to completely tear this film down, because it is put together well and has its good moments (aside from the clichés). It just felt like a movie that is too predictable at times and leaves you not really contemplating much about it afterwards. I left the theater thinking, “That was a decent movie, but nothing special – now what’s for dinner?” That about sums up it up for me – it’s a notch or two above any standard rom-com fare that’s produced by the droves these days, mainly because of the high-caliber acting. And even though the story is fine, the script is emotional, and the acting is genuinely real – I do think that this movie is overrated. There was way too much hype surrounding it from the get go – and when that happens to films, people tend to build up expectations for what they are going to take away from it. For me, perhaps I went in expecting too much, and left thinking that I have seen it all before – but sometimes, if you don’t go in expecting the world, then the end result isn’t necessarily that bad.
It’s definitely worth checking out a time or two, but don’t expect to be blown away by it.