That irksome commenter called “Sperky” also said this morning that Silver Linings Playbook “never was.” Nope — it is. It’s not a bigger dog than Lincoln or Life of Pi or Zero Dark Thirty or Les Miserables, but it is a dog on the racetrack, perhaps not fated to win but definitely scampering and panting along with six or seven others. I also think that on some weird level SLP has picked up a little aversion-therapy headwind from the darkness of the last ten days.
A spark of this thought hit me yesterday while discussing things with Glenn Kenny. While SLP obviously has zero connection to Newtown, I suspect that deep down in the heart of the film industry it has become (or is becoming) in some small way a kind of emotional salve or antidote to the evil and malevolent vibes that rocked this country in the wake of that awful act.
I realized this yesterday morning when I came across two Sundance movies about guns and random killing (one of them being Alexandre Moors‘ Blue Caprice, about the 2002 Beltway sniper killings) and I said to myself “I don’t want to see those films…I’ve been wading in that hell pit with Newtown and then Wayne LaPierre‘s statements, and I don’t want to go back there.”
So maybe this is just me but I don’t think so. I think people are really sick over that event, which in the realm of shooting-death tragedies has sunk in almost as heavily as 9/11 did 12 years ago, and they don’t want to taste it in any way, shape or form right now. To the extent that they may want to champion a film that delivers a totally contrary spirit.
I’m not saying Silver Linings Playbook will win because of a horrible tragedy. There can be no discussion of the Best Picture race and the murder of 20 small children in the same article. Which I’m not engaging in. I’m just been observing that sensitive, compassionate people in this town are hugely distraught by what happened on 12.14, and suggesting that some may be subconsciously lunging towards any distraction that feels like a kind of polar-opposite energy source. Maybe.
I haven’t thought this through so it may just be pollen in the air that I’m misinterpreting or something. I only know that I won’t be seeing those two gun-killing films at Sundance, and from that a related thought has taken flight.