'Magic in the Moonlight' and 'Lucy': Good Woody and Girl Powers Woody Allen's "Magic in the Moonlight" returns us to the toddling times of his Oscar-winning "Midnight in Paris." This movie doesn't have all the resonant nostalgia of that one, but it's cleverly scripted and consistently funny, and it demonstrates …Read more. 'Boyhood' and 'I Origins': Richard Linklater Delivers a Long-Form Masterwork, Michael Pitt and Brit Marling Get Lost in a Sci-Fi Muddle Richard Linklater has proved himself a master of capturing on film something that seems very much like real life. In his "Before" trilogy ("Before Sunrise," "Before Sunset" and "Before Midnight"), a sequence of separately shot movies spaced nine …Read more. 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes': Blockbuster With a Brain In "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," the liberated simians we last saw escaping across the Golden Gate Bridge into the vast redwood forest of Marin County now prevail not only over most of the world but over the entire movie. The besieged humans on …Read more. 'A Hard Day's Night': Beatlemania Revisited "A Hard Day's Night," Richard Lester's madcap Beatles film, has been so pervasively influential — on music videos, on TV commercials and, of course, with other movie directors and editors — that today its innovations seem almost …Read more.more articles
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, crazy in love
Just back from eight months in a mental institution, to which he'd been consigned after pounding a guy he caught showering with his wife, ex-school teacher Pat Solitano has returned home to Philadelphia to discover...that he has no home. His estranged spouse, Nikki, has sold their house and obtained a restraining order to keep him away from her. Pat's heavy bipolar issues — wild delusions and sudden rages — are still in full, scary effect, but he's determined to win Nikki back. All it will require is working out, losing some weight and thinking positive. ("I'm gonna take all this negativity and use it for fuel!" he announces to his dismayed parents, with whom he's moved back in.)
Then he meets Tiffany, a sour young widow with plenty of issues of her own. ("I was a big slut, but I'm not anymore," she tells Pat very early on.) Tiffany's older sister is a friend of Nikki's, and Pat, thinking positively, leaps at this opportunity to re-establish contact with his runaway wife. Tiffany might help, but she also needs a partner for an upcoming ballroom-dancing competition. Pat can't dance, but Tiffany, in her cockeyed way, is thinking positive, too.
In "Silver Linings Playbook," Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, playing Pat and Tiffany, demonstrate that rare thing, an onscreen chemistry that's completely persuasive. They're wonderfully funny together. Cooper's Pat, in the grip of a raging delusion that he can somehow repossess Nikki, can't see anything outside of this uphill goal. Lawrence's Tiffany, for whom acting very oddly is a full-time occupation, is being driven even battier by her inability to get Pat to see her.
These two are reason enough to see the movie; they've never been better. And 22-year-old Lawrence, especially, is a revelation.
The movie is packed with great scenes, memorable among them Pat's towering rant about the insufficiencies of Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms," which is hilariously echoed later on by Tiffany's squintingly intense dismissal of "Lord of the Flies." (There's also a cute fanboy moment in which we barely glimpse the marquee of a theatre that's showing "The Midnight Meat Train," the bloody cult horror film in which Cooper starred.) You know that all of this is going to wind up at the big dance competition, but that turns out to be memorable, too.
To call this picture a "romantic comedy" would do it a disservice. The characters are leagues away from the usual rom-com cliches, and the dialogue is far more inventively tart. It's tiresome to hear reviewers hyping this or that funny movie as "the year's best," so I won't. But you get the idea.
Kurt Loder is the film critic for Reason Online. To find out more about Kurt Loder and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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