Sometimes when it comes to film criticism, the worst thing that can happen to a movie is that it opens to immediate acclaim. This year, I went into Silver Linings Playbook expecting an entirely fresh story about mental illness and how family’s cope. Instead the film played as a generic romantic comedy jammed into an admittedly original style. However, time and a read through of the script has changed my feelings about the film. It’s not less light or eager to hit all the right “notes” in mind, but it does feel like a unique approach to a type of film that hardly gets any adrenaline shot into it anymore. As I said in my review of the film, since he emerged with the quirky comedy Spanking the Monkey, David O. Russell has been somewhat unfairly pegged as an original artistic voice who rarely lives up to the expectations of viewers. Even his Academy Award-winning The Fighter disappointed many who saw it as adapting to “Hollywood.” It seems Russell’s audience thinks of him differently than what he actually is. To me, the director is excellent at spinning typical stories (War, Sports, Romance, Comedy) into free jazz experiments in performance. He is adept at forcing actors to wear their hearts on their sleeves and sculpts complex characterizations out of the seemingly familiar.
This 12-minutes video takes a cursory glance at the performances in Silver Linings Playbook. A few months ago somebody mentioned that Cooper’s performance was more textured than Day-Lewis’ in Lincoln. I laughed him off then, though right now I do wonder if it’s true. This is a fun little video. If you liked the film, it’s worth the watch.