When I went to see Silver Lining’s Playbook, I was completely unfamiliar with what it was about.
So I asked Sweetanlo (who had not seen it but is pretty pop-culture savvy.)
“it’s a romantic comedy.”
“Oh, really, that sounds like a good one to take your mom to then.”
“Well, actually maybe not a comedy so much.”
“Is it sad?”
“Well, no but I’m not sure it’s a romance either, but I think it might be a romantic comedy.”
“So it’s a romantic comedy which might not be either romantic or comedic?”
Here’s the odd thing: Turns out she was kind of right.
I have to say at the outset of this “movie reaction,” that part of my enjoyment from the movie came from it’s surprising nature. It has been along time since I’ve seen a movie which came to me as a mostly blank slate. (For Pete’s sake, did anyone actually get to see Sixth Sense for the first time without already knowing that “I see dead people.” ?) So, in my reaction, I’d like to not spoil that same sense for you in case you go to see it.
Nonetheless, I will say that within the first 5 minutes it was pretty clear that comedy would not be the right description for this movie. There is a romantic element involved, and yet this is only one of several important relationships within the movie and arguably not the most important one.
Anyway, without giving anything else away, here’s my reaction.
The language was terrible, but that is one thing that you come to expect in any movie involving Robert Deniro (why is that?) I find I don’t notice the language in most movies unless it’s fairly extreme, so my mentioning it here tells you something.
This still mystifies me. I cannot think of one instance in which anyone claimed to like a movie less because it had too few swear words, but many people have expressed distaste at an overabundance of foul language.
Having said that I will acknowledge that it was not completely gratuitous (only mostly) in that certain aspects of the plot and character do seem to fit with this kind of language. Furthermore I will gladly affirm that without the language, this would like not have received an R rating. Although the themes are certainly adult there is a refreshing lack of sexual situations or graphic violence.
Seven Themes Note: The movie carried a nice theme of redemption, well acted and played out. The most important element of the movie was not one plot line or one character or even one relationship, but the interplay between a number of interesting relationships, which means fellowship was an important theme. At the same time it doesn’t quite fit the “breakfast club/steel magnolias” fellowship genre which Hollywood was enamored with about a decade ago. I guess what I have come to realize is that this movie tends to be a bit genre bending, not easily pinned down to one formula.
My bottom line reaction: I enjoyed the movie. The acting was great. The script was interesting enough. I would not call it a great movie, but I did not feel cheated out of my time or money, which is saying a lot for movies at the theater these days.
My ranking of Oscar nominees I’ve reviewed thus far:
1. Silver Lining’s Playbook
Full disclosure: (What other factors impact my review) I had no preconceptions of this movie when I started. I probably chose it it as part of my Oscar Journey, but went to see it as a date, so my expectations and hopes were higher than they might otherwise have been. . I watched this movie with my wife, which makes my desire for the movie to be good higher, but also means I will feel the time was redeemed even if the movie is terrible, cause I like my wife. My wife enjoyed it quite a bit which definitely impacts my overall feeling. I paid full price which always makes me judge a movie more harshly.