Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Belated review: Silver Lining's Playbook

I know I've been remiss at posting reviews.  I have seen a few good films lately, but I find myself more interested in exploring the why's and wherefores of films I didn't completely love.  I'm not being facetious or negative. Just the opposite.  In fact I know I should post all my positive reviews and I will do it in the next posting.  Right now I'm motivated by one thing:

Why was Silver Lining's Playbook awarded so many accolades?

Again, I'm not trying to poke fun or be negative.  I'm just trying to understand what stood out.  Was it the fact that Pat and Tiffany were able to go against the odds and find love with each other?  Was it the shocking condition that Pat had?  Were we supposed to feel sorry for him or laugh about it?  Was it because De Niro was in it?  Was it because Jackie Weaver was in it?

I'll tell you what I liked about this movie.  First, my most favorite scene is when Pat's father confides in him about wanting them to spend time together, getting to know each other again while watching the game.  That brought tears to my eyes (and still does).

Second, I loved the "5 points" at the dance competition.  I don't know if anyone else thought Pat's dad was talking about the basketball game.  I know I did.  So it was a pleasant surprise when they all cheered when Pat and Tiffany got a score of 5 in the dance competition.  I laughed at that one.

Third, the acting overall was great.  I was pleased to see Jackie Weaver in it, as I know of her work in Australian films long before Animal Kingdom (rent Cosi.  She's fantastically funny in it).

I read a negative review that said the acting rose above the weak script, and I have to agree.  If it wasn't for the characterizations, I probably wouldn't have watched it all the way through.

And that's what didn't work. The story didn't grab me.  The characters were all great, but the plot didn't capture my attention.  I love ballroom dancing, and the idea of training for a dance competition would normally interest me, but this didn't.  Maybe it was because I knew they weren't any good just by watching them practice. Usually you see the progression, the sense of improvement, and they didn't improve, which was the point, but it didn't motivate me otherwise.

I found Tiffany a bit annoying at first, partly because her actions were a bit too familiar.  I can't place where I've seen her type of interplay with Pat before, but I have.

Also, I felt like I was watching a sequel to the film Cutting Edge, but instead of it taking place in an ice rink, it took place in a ballroom.  What ironic about this thought is that when I saw Cutting Edge the first time it was at a friend's place just after we had watched Strictly Ballroom.  I enjoyed both films, but since I saw them back to back, I often affectionately call Cutting Edge, "Strictly Ballroom on Ice."

Now I can call Silver Lining's Playbook, "Cutting Edge on a dance floor."  Ba-dum-dum!

Any thoughts?

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