sábado, janeiro 12, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)



Let me start by saying I never thought this movie could be that good... like amazing good. I remember watching the trailer and thinking: "there's a nice little flick. Something to watch on a Sunday afternoon". But did I think it was somewhere close to being Oscar material? 

Hell no!! 

So imagine my surprise when I turn on CNN during the Oscar nominations and the name Silver Linings Playbook (2012) keeps dropping...
8 times! I couldn't believe it! This movie was nominated in 8 different categories, including Best Picture, Best Director and all four actors categories (lead and supporting). I was shocked and surprised. For one because I couldn't believe that Robert De Niro had given a performance worthy of such reward. No disrespect intended... the man is one of the finest actors to walk this earth, but during these past few years I can't remember a single movie where he gave out a vintage performance. But most of all, I was baffled with Bradley Cooper's nomination for Best Leading Actor. In my mind there was no chance he was Oscar material. Sure I liked him... I think he's funny, charismatic... I like having him on screen, but there's a huge gap from that into being top notch actor. So you would think my expectations for this would rise... right?

Yes and no... It did lead me to go to a cinema to watch it, however, I still expected myself not to be convinced by any of the nominations or the (great) reviews I read. Almost felt like it was my way of creating a defense so I wouldn't leave the theater room disappointed. I'm aware I shouldn't do this, but you know what? Who cares? It worked! I was very skeptical when I got in, when I was marveled when I got out. 

Hat's off to Mr. Cooper to whom I owe a sincere apology for doubting his skills. Terrific performance, deserving of all the great compliments it has had... I'm sure it won't win the Oscar but that doesn't take away his shine. I'll be sure to give him a great ovation during the ceremony. But Cooper wasn't alone... Jennifer Lawrence was up there with him, proving once again why she is regarded as one of the best actresses coming up in Hollywood. She is likeable, she has skill, she has the looks... and she has been picking her roles wisely.

Together, they've established this crazy chemistry that makes the audience root for them right from the get go. You can almost anticipate the laughter to burst any time Cooper's character goes out for a jog.

I particularly enjoyed the way both characters are outlined as crazy and misfitted, because she does what she wants and he says what he wants. It's just amazing to think both are judged and criticized for things that should almost be addressed as qualities in a world filled with hypocrisy and people just withheld their wishes and/or thoughts. But anyway, I'll leave that to your judgement...

Moving on...

Robert De Niro finally delivered an outstanding performance like he hasn't done in years. It may still not be a vintage role, like the one's in those 80s Scorsese's movies, nonetheless, just fabulous acting. It had some of the most beautiful moments in the film. Perhaps my favorite scene is, curiously enough, a very intimate "Father and Son" sequence. I've said this before and as times goes by I'm more and more convinced that I have a soft spot for these scenes. Nothing in Common, Magnolia, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints and Warrior (in which I wrote an article making the exact same point I'm making here) are four great examples of  of movies that had me break down in an emotional way. Maybe it's becoming too obvious that I kind of relate to my father, to an extent that I won't comment here for being such a private matter. I can say however, it just makes me think about how much I love him and how I wish I was more around... Movies are magical in so many ways and its beautiful how they can trigger these thoughts almost without even trying.

On the other hand, even though I'm a fan of Jackie Weaver (check out Animal Kingdom) she wasn't able to convince me that she deserved an Oscar nomination, despite delivering very good role. I'm convinced she was a key element in providing the movie the balance it needed and for that she deserves the recognition and praise that go along with it, but I wouldn't stand her out specially against the three people mentioned above. 

Silver Linings Playbook easily bounces from comedy (with raging twisted humor, to just everyday jokes and romantic lines) to drama (without ever being over the top). There's an equilibrium and every time a shift is made, it is applied smoothly, therefore, kudos to David O. Russell for handling this motion picture so well. He his proving to be a headline name for people to consider every time he comes out with something new. 

Each moment was carefully executed with taste and subtlety, even it certain scenes were built to be "too hard to handle" only to then lead to a more "funny and unexpected scene". I saw traces or even some inspiration (I dare say) taken from Little Miss Sunshine  orchestrated with an eclectic range of musical genres, from classical, to White Stripes and beautiful jazz tracks to which I instantly reacted: "This has to be Dave Brubeck" (a musical genius who unfortunately away last year).

It's a crowd favorite, with the ability to please most people regardless of their mood or even their expectations. It goes way beyond a normal sense of satisfaction... In fact, had I seen it before the end of last year, it would definitely be in my top 5.

Oh... and guess what?

The Philadelphia Eagles have just got themselves a new fan!

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