Dance For Me Bradley! Dance Damn You!

In Movies on January 21, 2013 at 5:41 pm

As I stated in my last review, I would be watching “Silver Linings Playbook” quite soon and last night I had the privilege of doing so.

“Silver Linings Playbook”, directed by David O. Rusell who directed such great movies as “Three Kings” and “The Fighter” is a sleeper hurt telling the story of Pat, played by Bradey Cooper,  who returns home after a brief stint in a mental health facility following an incident involving  Pat catching his then wife Nikki, played by Brea Bee, and her lover Doug Culpepper, played Ted Barba, making love in the shower. Upon returning home, Pat tries to read his way through Nikki’s syllabus and  run off his fat, in hopes that she will return to him. While doing so, Pat comes to terms with his father’s, played by Robert De Niro new form of employment, his mother’s motherlyness, played by Jacki Weaver, his best friend Ronnie, played by John Ortiz, and his awful marriage to Veronica, played by Julia Stiles. While dealing with his own mental health problems and the peer pressure from his friends to act normal, Pat encounters Tiffany, played by Jennifer Lawrence, who has a series of mental health problems all on her own. These two individuals come together, come apart, and dance throughout their drug fueled semi-dating relationship.

This movie was strikingly different from the book in a number of ways that I will discuss later on. However, this doesn’t make it a bad movie and there are some changes that I enjoyed and some that I did not. But, before I begin, let me just mention a few actors in this film that really stood out.

Jennifer Lawrence was excellent in this film. She most certainly deserved the Golden Globe for her portrayal of Tiffany because she became her. She stomped around on camera, reeling from one emotion to the next, displaying her inability to control herself in front of the camera beautifully and tragically. I don’t know if she read the book, but after watching this I felt that she truly understood what her character was suffering from and what her character wanted.

Bradley Cooper was good, but not great. Thinking back to his role in this film, I wouldn’t say it was Golden Globe or Oscar worthy, but it was good. He seemed to understand what to display when his character was having an emotional break down, there were a few points where he seemed to have some difficulty. The relationship with his father wasn’t as flushed out in this film, as it should have been, and I think his character would have benefited from this.

Jacki Weaver was excellent as the saintly mother who doesn’t believe that anyone in this world, especially her son, could do anything wrong. She showed us the questioning that Dolores felt whenever Pat had an episode quite well, allowing the audience to see that she may be having second thoughts about  helping her son out of the mental health facility.

Those three stars really stood out in this film. I thought the story made this movie worth it, although, I would recommend reading the book first because I prefer that ending to this one. So, read the book and then see the movie. You’ll love it.

Now onto the spoilers!

I did not like how this movie did not have Pat work to uncover what had happened. I think that was a key feature of the book that made it so gripping and entertaining. I was very disappointed that Russel chose to not have Pat work to uncover what had happened to him.

I liked the father in the movie but I liked how Pat, and his father, and to work together to gain some resemblance of a relationship. I, personally, felt that when the book ended, Pat had accomplished so much while in the movie, he scored a 5 in their dance competition and fell in love with Tiffany. I know that sounds like a lot, and believe me it is, but still he did a lot more in the book. I also didn’t like the whole career that Pat’s father had in the movie. He was awful in the book and in the movie he appeared to be a nice guy, but a bookie on the side. I would have liked him to be one or the other in the movie, not in the middle of the road.

Another aspect of this movie that I did not like was the classic Hollywood ending. He scorns his ex, who cheated on him, and gets the girl. In the book, it’s left up in the air whether he will be involved with Nikki romantically or not. I liked that. These two individuals are experiencing a lot of mental health and the fact that both of them appear to overcome their issues and fall in love, at the end of the movie, seems too much of a good thing. At the end of the book they are together but they aren’t spooning and gazing into each other’s eyes. They are looking to the sky to find those damn silver linings.


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