Everyone, it seems, except for one off-in-the-corner sourpuss agrees with me about The Silver Lining’s Playbook being a knockout and a likely awards contender. It’s an awfully nice feeling when everyone jumps in and says, “Yup, what you wrote last night was right on the money.” And it’s a terrible feeling when the reverse happens. Do you know how you can tell when a movie is really working during a showing? During the quiet, intimate scenes you can sense the concentration — the entire theatre is dead quiet except for the dialogue. You could hear a pin drop.
I don’t want to be crabby but Deadline‘s Pete Hammond tapped out the day’s oddest comment when he wrote in the middle of a whoop-dee-doo, here-comes-another-Oscar-contender piece that “the film has a certain charm.” That’s like saying a rainshower delivers a certain amount of moisture.
Eric Kohn‘s Indiewire review is an impassioned a-minus. This Oscar potential piece by L.A. Times columnist Steven Zeitchik is cautious but accurate. My favorite rave so far was written by Indiewire‘s Kevin Jagernauth — here are excerpts:
“While the film’s tone will find many making comparisons to Russell’s Flirting With Disaster — and indeed, it has that film’s energy, though it’s not quite as zany — the helmer imbues it with an even bigger heart thanThe Fighter, creating a picture that while frequently laugh out loud hilarious, has very real emotional stakes. Russell wisely never overplays that latter card, tending to side with comedy over drama more often than not, but when those notes do come to the fore, the character work has been so well done, that they’re honest without being sentimentalized.
“But none of this works without some carefully developed, and perfectly pitched performances from the leads, and Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence both arguably give career best, awards-worthy performances. We’ve frankly never seen Cooper in a role like this, one that requires him to not only to carry the film, but to play a nuanced character who is in big in personality, but also tremendously vulnerable. He’s also outrageously funny.
“Lawrence may be an even bigger surprise to many as Tiffany, a young woman who is sexy, tough and also easily bruised, who not only has to manage Pat’s unpredictable nature, but also keep herself on an even keel to stop from sliding into self destructive tendencies. And the actress simply nails it, and one particular showdown with De Niro is awards-reel ready, and earned deserved applause as well from the TIFF press audience.
“Silver Linings isn’t a movie about mental illness so much as it about the struggle many can identify with, in trying to find someone who can accept us for all of our quirks and flaws, big and small. [It] isn’t the deepest movie you’ll see this year, and ultimately doesn’t say anything new about how men and women relate. But Russell’s film says it in a manner that is a true joy to watch…[it] retains a looseness while never losing track of where the characters and story need to go.
“Yes, the marketing presents it as a big broad comedy — and it certainly is — but it’s also a unique and involving tale of two outsiders who together find a way to get on with life after it has dealt them some bad hands. And the silver lining is a film that is worth every satisfying minute you spend with it.”