SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK is my favorite film of the year thus far. David O. Russell channels his anarchic sensibilities into something truly heartwarming, gut-wrenching and audience-pleasing. And he never panders in doing so. He has become the go-to guy for dysfunctional, blue-collar family drama. This film takes the qualities that made THE FIGHTER good and mashes it up with the most bittersweet romantic comedy in years. And if you’ve ever dealt with mental illness in your family, you’ll be both emotionally crushed and your heart will soar. The magic with which these two feelings are interwoven by Mr. Russell is nothing short of breathtaking.
Bradley Cooper’s central performance is a real revelation for him. But Jennifer Lawrence is the real deal. Wow. And one cannot remark on this wonderful film without noting that Mr. Robert DeNiro not only gives his best performance in 20 years, but one of the very finest of his illustrious career.
This movie destroys on every level. It makes me feel joyous and heartbroken at the same time. And part of that heartbreak comes from the fact that Hollywood used to make movies like this all of the time, but now it’s cobbled together from 20,000 different financiers over 7 years AFTER the cast has already been assembled and then barely gets made. If the audience I saw it with is any indication, this movie should be a swift kick in the ass for the makers of BATTLESHIP and all the bullshit they spend billions upon billions on. I know, it’s a fantasy of mine, let me have it.
You don’t need a lot of money. Just a great script with an enormously talented director will attract great actors who will go above-and-beyond what they are normally capable of just for the opportunity to do something great for once. It should be simple. But I guess if it were so simple, there’d be a million of these movies. And SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK wouldn’t be so special. But maybe that’d be a good thing…