The Silver Linings Playbook team is back! We have Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper with direction from good old David O. Russel taking us on another cinematic experience. This film follows a woman named Joy as she tries to make a better life for herself and her family using her creativity, despite the fact that the people closest to her are often the ones stifling her innovative qualities.
I was excited when I first saw this trailer. Silver Linings was moving, and if you slap J-Law on the poster of a movie, I'll most likely give it a shot. The trailer for this movie was pretty enticing as well. It alluded to a lot of emotion, a strong performance from Lawrence, and a tone that would make me smile. Unfortunately, this movie didn't really deliver.
One major problem that this movie had was that it didn't develop characters in ways that made them likable. They were all damaged in their own way, and I get that to some level they have to be unlikable because of that, but it was hard to care about these characters. In Silver Linings, both Cooper and Lawrence were pretty unbearable at times. But they were still worthy of rooting for. I only felt Lawrence's character became likable in the third act. De Niro's character was fairly likable, and everyone else was serviceable, but no one gained my admiration.
Structurally, this movie was rather...odd. First off, it's a non-linear narrative. There are flashbacks, and flash-forwards and dream sequences, and a weird parallel with this fake soap opera that Joy's mother watches? I'm glad that they were trying to be creative, but ultimately none of it worked. It was a jumbled mess that struggled to find it's feet- until about the third act that is.
Although it felt like it ran 20 minutes too long, the final portion of this film was the best. From the beginning of the movie, the audience is waiting for Joy to hit bottom. And beat after beat, she keeps hitting bottom after bottom. Watching Lawrence claw her way out of the graves that are dug for her is the most entertaining part of this film. She played someone weak and broken in the beginning, and although it took a little too long to get there, she became a strong, ambitious woman that was a lot of fun to watch. It's too bad that there was only about 30 minutes of this.
I want to stress that I don't blame the cast for not liking this movie. They acted well, the cinematography was better than most films, and the soundtrack was full of great choices. If there's anything to blame, it would be the writing. The movie spent way too much time building up to the climax, but it seemed like it assumed that the audience cared about the characters enough that they would enjoy themselves while waiting for ANYTHING to happen.
Lastly, I'm going to give this movie props for making mops entertaining. Did I mention half of this movie revolves around the self-ringing mop? Maybe I shouldn't say much about it, because they were keeping that a secret from the trailers, so I won't spoil anything. If you can't tell, I wouldn't recommend this movie. My quote at the top of the page may be a little harsh, but I promise I wouldn't mind getting those couple of hours back.