<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by David O. Russell. Starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher, John Ortiz, Julia Stiles
What starts off as a promising film filled with quirk and eccentricity levels off into utter stupidity and has a culmination so unlike the first three-fourths that you’re left banging your head against a wall. It’s the acting and the music that pull it along.
The camp that actually doesn’t like this film is very small and go figure Minority-Review is part of it. I don’t hate it mind you, but yes I did start to hate it after hearing all the nominations it was getting. That was sorta balanced by Life Of Pi not winning any awards recently though (told you so, m’fuckers!).
Hunky Bradley Cooper (nominated for an Oscar, who’d have thought!) can act, yes he can. He plays Pat Solitano, a man who is released from a mental institution where he was being treated for ‘bipolar disorder’: Bipolar disorder is a condition in which people go back and forth between periods of a very good or irritable mood and depression. The “mood swings” between mania and depression can be very quick.
He goes back to his relatively dysfunctional family: dad Pat Sr is a Philadelphia Eagles football fan who can’t watch a game unless Pat Jr (Robert De Niro, nominated for an Oscar) is wearing his team jersey and the remote controls are facing in a particular direction. Mother Delores (Jacki Weaver, nominated for an Oscar) tends to get hyper when her son doesn’t take his meds but she’s generally a nice mom. Pat was sent to the mental institution because he beat up his ex-wife’s lover but soon after release he harbours hopes of getting back with her and in this effort he sees a shrink predictably called Dr Patel (Anupam Kher) and runs to get back into shape.
And while he’s back home he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence, nominated and will probably win) who’s lost her husband of three years and depressed, proceeded to sleep with all her co-workers (including the women) and get fired. The two make the perfect odd couple but Pat still thinks he’s married. Tiffany, like most women on a mission, wants Pat and will do anything and everything to get her man.
There’s lots of whimsy, lots of knee-jerk reactions, plenty of unbalanced behaviour but the film is really a romantic comedy in a film-about-mentally-ill people clothing. Is Pat really bipolar or is he just in need of some anger management coaching? Why must Tiffany have Pat (apart from the fact that he’s played by everyone’s favourite dish Bradley Cooper)?
There’s no real chemistry between the two who are so obviously poles apart in terms of age. And the whole set up of a dance competition at the end which Tiffany gets Pat to partner her with for just feels out of place. That’s all it takes to cure them both – true love and a lousy imitation-Dirty-Dancing rip-off competition? Really…? I don’t know. I’m not buying it. Will the Academy?
Sure Silver Linings Playbook is a ‘cute’ film, with some nice music by Danny Elfman, average direction by David O Russell; it has its over-the-top acting (lots of hamming by De Niro) and some charm but does it deserve an Oscar… I think not. Oh and for India, it is indeed a great thing that Anupam Kher has a reasonable role in the film and what’s more he’s a better actor (in my opinion) and orator than the overhyped Irrfan Khan.
Click to Check out this interesting video (from The Telegraph online): Oscars 2013: why Silver Linings Playbook should not win