Sunday, 2 December 2012

Silver Linings Playbook 2012

Why is everyone raving about this film? It has been winning awards at festivals and is pegged as one of frontrunners for the Oscars. I fail to understand why.

Pat (Bradley Cooper) is bipolar and obsessed with getting his estranged wife back. Last time they had been together, he had caught her red-handed with her lover, whom he beat up - and consequently got institutionalised. Now, almost a year later, he has one mission - to convince her that he has got his emotions under control and is rebuilding his life. He then meets recently widowed Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) who, herself, is suffering from various neuroses and they unwittingly help each other overcome their mental problems. Throw in some other dysfunctional family members - OCD gambling dad (Robert De Niro), over-indulgent mum (Jacki Weaver), self-centred brother (Shea Whigham) - and we have a recipe for what is cutely termed as a 'comedy-drama'.

The problem is that this film simply does not connect. The comic situations are over-the-top and unconvincing, the dramatic scenes are unreal and none of the characters are endearing enough for me to empathise with. It seems that David O. Russell (screenwriter/director) has taken a fairly important issue - mental disorders and maladjusted individuals - and made a bit of a mockery out of them. I understand that the film is based on a successful novel by Matthew Quick, so Russell isn't completely to blame for the treatment of the characters, but as far as I am concerned it is quite an 'inappropriate' film. The lead pair have acted well, De Niro is hamming throughout (I guess he has nothing left to prove, considering his immense body of work, but still!) and the other secondary characters are delivered with no real investment from the actors.

Maybe, I'm being harsh, but I really would like someone to explain to me, why this film is being touted as such a wonderful piece of work that it deserves to bag all the awards and accolades. What am I missing?

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