“Can we get through one f–king conversation without you reminding me that my goddamn husband’s dead?”–Tiffany
I had really high expectations when I saw this movie because it was one of my must-see picks at TIFF and it’s already getting Oscar buzz. Plus, Jennifer Lawrence is in it (and right now I’ll basically watch anything she’s in because I think she’s so talented). But I wasn’t… wowed? Like I expected the acting was top-notch but the script seemed like it was just kind of thrown together and all of the plot holes and unbelievable story lines was just too much, even for a modern screwball comedy.
But it did make me like Bradley Cooper, so I guess that’s one thing.
The movie follows Pat (Bradley Cooper), a thirty-something guy who gets sent to a mental institution after he discovers he’s bipolar. He finally gets released eight months later and is laser-focused on getting his wife back who had cheated on him with one of his teaching colleagues (which was kind of the whole incident that set off his mental breakdown). The thing is, he can’t actually see her because of his restraining order so he asks his friend’s wife’s sister Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) to give her an I-want-you-back letter.
Tiffany has her own problems ever since her husband Tommy died (“how did Tommy die?”), and is sick of doing
sexual favors for other people, and says she’ll only pass on the letter if Pat enters a freestyle dance competition with her. They both think the other one is more crazy even though in the end we find out everyone in this movie is a little crazy. Oh, and there’s also a ton of football references. And Pat mentions his silver linings/excelsior life motto a lot.
Again, the acting was phenomenal. Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper play off each other so well. My favorite scenes were the parts where they exchanged verbal blows, taking delight in taboo topics. Their socially ineptness leaves no room for polite niceties and they find themselves having uncomfortable but meaningful conversations instead of skirting around the subject of mental illness.
They’re both stubborn, highly flawed characters, but are also able to convey fragility at the perfect moments. Robert De Niro is also great as Pat’s incredibly superstitious dad who’s constantly talking about the Eagles juju but can’t quite put into words how much he cares about his youngest son. It’s the first time in a long time De Niro’s not playing a caricature of himself and his performance is real and heartfelt.
My main problem with this movie, spoilers ahead, is that the way they try to elevate the importance of the dance competition happened so inorganically, that I found it way too unbelievable to enjoy. It wasn’t enough that the dance was a way for Pat to learn and mature as a person but the number of points they scored on their performance also became tied with a bet between Pat’s dad and Randy, a rich investor who would only fund Pat’s dad’s restaurant business if the Eagles lost against the Cowboys.
The movie has a lovable cast of characters, and they couldn’t have picked a better pair to play the main roles (by the way they also have excellent chemistry), but the script left something else to be desired.
What do you guys think? Am I the only one who isn’t crazy about this movie?