December 31, 2013.

This blog is now closed. After three years and 311 posts, I have decided to end this blog. I have enjoyed watching the films, reviewing them, and interacting with global readers.

If you are interested in contacting me, you can do so by commenting on any of the posts. The blog will remain live on the web.
Thank you to all the readers for your comments, ideas, and thoughts. They were helpful, stimulating, and enriching. This is Alene, signing off.

June 1, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

When it’s over, I liked this film, but didn't love it. After Pat (Bradley Cooper) is released from a mental institution to the custody of his parents (Jacki Weaver and Robert De Niro), he is determined to win back his wife, Nikki (Brea Bee), who has issued a restraining order against him. Things get complicated when he enlists the help of a woman named Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), who has emotional problems of her own. The film brought awareness and understanding to an issue I knew little about, which in turn, made me hungry to know more. Humor was the key element, but the film never felt like a comedy. The humor was subtle and throughout, serving as an effective tool in peeling away the stigma commonly associated with mental disorders. I really liked the dance competition element of the story. It was funny as well as poignant. It cleansed Pat and Tiffany in a way they never expected and brought the two flawed individuals together in a deserving way. Most people agree this film was about mental illness, but I believe this film was really about inner struggle and relationships. Viewers could easily relate to such factors as wanting to better themselves, as Pat did as he constantly reached for his silver linings; or feeling “alive” and “in the moment” like Tiffany, felt while coping with her own inadequacies; or never giving up on their child, like Pat’s parents. You don’t have to have a mental illness to be engaged in this film. Although, I think viewers who do have mental illness or know of someone who has mental illness can relate with greater intensity to the characters. Instead of seeing Pat as a man with mental problems, I saw him as a man with challenges, who struggled to co-exist with his difficulties. Isn’t that what we all try to do everyday of our lives? Cooper won me over, not by his looks, but by his talent. He pulled me into the life of a man who wore a garbage bag when he ran in order to lose weight. Lawrence was solid, as usual, and I completely forgot she was Ree from Winter’s Bone or Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. As much as I liked Lawrence, I don’t think her performance was Oscar worthy. She was very good, but not WOW. The major downside of the film, for me, was the yelling and arguing onscreen (mostly between Pat and his parents), which derailed my viewing pleasure. There was something about all that bickering that simply turned me off. Luckily, most of it took place in the first half of the film, making the second half, the true winner.  

My rating: 3.5 out of 5

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