Night at the Movies: Silver Linings Playbook

categories: Cocktail Hour / Movies


About to not kiss, whoa.

I wasn’t in the mood yesterday and needed to get new glasses over in Waterville anyway, so to Railroad Square for a couple of movies, Silver Linings Playbook and Life of Pi.  I live in a cave so I hadn’t heard of Silver Linings Playbook nor read a single word about it, always the best way to enter a theater.  What’s more, I didn’t know who that actress was till after, when I stared at the poster outside in the rain: Jennifer Lawrence, whom I’ve written about here, for her performance in The Hunger Games. And that’s the mark of a great performance–I simply didn’t recognize her, not for one second, wondered who this unknown person might be.   The kid’s got range.  She pops out of nowhere to intercept a fellow jogger, several times.  Her character is anti-suburban, which you know is my highest praise.  People Magazine has named Bradley Cooper the sexiest man alive.  But I think Jennifer Lawrence is much sexier. I didn’t recognize him, either, but that’s just creeping senility.  Robert DeNiro I recognized, and was slowly won over–that is, I slowly forgot the actor and saw a character.  Football, dance, mental health–wait a minute!

I cried through half the movie, maybe because so much of my own life (and maybe all of my work) has been about loving people with mental health issues. I even think they beat the stereotypes.  I laughed a lot, too, often the only one in the not-crowded theater, felt like the laugh-track in a 50s sitcom, but you know, some people need permission to let it out, and here in reserved New England, I’ve taken movie laughter as my job.  I loved this movie.  I know, I know, all the sentences in this paragraph begin with I.

But not this one.  Life of Pi was great, too, a movie that takes the trouble to completely spell out its own metaphor, sigh.

Still, I got home invigorated and ready to write.








  1. Vasilios writes:

    That’s so great to hear; I just saw Silver Linings Playbook today and immediately sat down to write because I felt the same urge. It’s those kinds of inspired performances (Lawrence, Cooper) that make me want to leap back into the creative arena and try and imbue my own characters with that kind of electricity however I can. Although I felt the film deserved a better ending than David O. Russell gave it (the tone changed to something inferior to the rest of the movie), i absolutely agree with your take: it’s a film very much worth seeing.

    I also loved Winter’s Bone; I just bought it on Blu-Ray (Target, 5 bucks whaaaat!?)

    But Life of Pi (a movie I adore though I disagree with its viewpoint) was the best movie this year: more complete than Silver Linings Playbook, more entertaining than Lincoln, grander than Argo, more affecting than Zero Dark Thirty. Which are all great movies, by the way!

  2. Richard Gilbert writes:

    Last weekend I walked into Silver Linings Playbook clueless too and was also pleased, and blown away by Lawrence’s performance. A very enjoyable evening it was. Life of Pi brought back the novel, was faithful as far as I can remember, which is praise. Now all those who didn’t read the book like 15 years ago are going through that “Which story is real?” question, and I feel rather smug, lacking the torment and feeling in on the writer’s point about reality and the stories we tell about our version of it.

  3. Peter Peteet writes:

    So in my dream one of the detectives from Hill Street Blues gets in my face and says”You know what’s wrong with you?-you need to go watch some TV”and now you are talking movies;yeah,o.k.the woods are kind of cold and damp today,and movie laughter is a job I’ve done before(I try to forget the times I snore).”Loving people with mental health issues”;that always tightens something in my chest.
    Thanks for the recommendations.
    I’ll go,I’ll go,and dream more when I rest.

  4. Nina writes:

    Bill, Jennifer Lawrence was also fantastic in Winter’s Bone. Truly beautiful movie.