Needing a different kind of movie, Wilma and I decided to take in SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK.  We knew very little about it going in; we knew of Jennifer Lawrence, but had not seen HUNGER GAMES, so she was a name to us – and we knew she had won the Golden Globe this year, which intrigued me some.  Also in the cast; Robert DeNiro, Bradley Cooper, Julia Stiles, and cast full of people who registered nothing in our memories.  Wilma and I saw ARGO a few weeks ago – and we both agree this is the better of the two movies… to the point that I don’t see how ARGO has won out over this voice, much less LINCOLN.

The story revolves around Patrick (Bradley Cooper), freshly released from the state institution, who has suffered the loss of his wife to another man, resulting in a pending divorce and in some serious mental health problems for Patrick – bipolar, to be specific.  Patrick meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) via a dinner at a friend’s house – the two hit it off in some strange ways – oblique honesty, mostly.  They swap stories and connect on levels neither had experienced before.  By the way, Tiffany also had had her bouts with mental health issues, so the two certainly made an interesting pair.  As the movie progresses, we see Patrick’s family members (including Robert DeNiro) advise him one way or another on his life.  Patrick is rather obsessed with getting in touch with his wife, hoping to reconcile.  Tiffany offers a way to help him achieve this, but to tell you more would be a bit of  a spoiler.

Jennifer Lawrence certainly deserves her nomination as best actress.  She plays a young lady whose feelings are raw, due to the recent death of her husband of 3 years.  She has anger issues that Ms.Lawrence portrays effectively and with a good dose of conviction.  Bradley Cooper nearly matches her in his treatment of Patrick’s anger and desires.  For me, though, Robert DeNiro (who is indeed nominated for a best supporting Oscar) hits it out of the park as the mildly disturbed dad who is overly obsessive/compulsive over his adoration of his home football team and his deep-seated belief that his son Patrick is the golden good luck talisman for that home football team.  One very touching scene finds DeNiro addressing Cooper – almost as a soliloquy – on his hopes for his son to sit at his side for those big games as they happen.

Several of the other characters bring a bit of strangeness to their part of the story.  Patrick’s mother, the uncle, and several of the friends are all not quite centered on normalcy.  This adds a tasty tinge of oddness to the cast.

At first, I noticed a good amount of camera shots that were merely full face shots.  I think the plan was to make the audience feel the closed up world that Patrick experienced.  Residential homes of a large city served well as the sets for the movie, including older homes, city streets, and a very fancy ballroom.

I know nothing of editing or cinematography, so all I can say is that the visual qualities of the movie were fine.

But I do know some stuff about music.  Danny Elfman is credited as the composer of the original music for the movie, but I assume he was also instrumental in selecting the existing music that provided a good deal of the soundtrack.  Music by Dave Brubeck appears often, and there’s some Stevie Wonder music that is pivotal to the story.  The voices of  Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash caught my attention the most in a very interesting scene between Patrick and Tiffany.

There are some laughs – there are some good lines – there are some touching moments – there are some intense scenes.  The pace is solid throughout – maybe a slightly slow moment here and there.  The movie and its actors rightfully deserve their nominations in the various awards – and should win their share of them.

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