Directed by: David O. Russell
Written by: David O. Russell (screenplay), Matthew Quick (novel)
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert de Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker and Anupam Kher.
Oscar Nominations: Actor (Bradley Cooper), Actress (Jennifer Lawrence), Supporting Actor (Robert de Niro), Supporting Actress (Jacki Weaver), Editing, Screenplay (Adapted), Directing and Picture.
I’m a huge fan of David O. Russell so needless to say I was pretty excited to see his take on the romantic comedy. I enjoyed the story, about a young man trying to come to terms with his bipolar disorder, his father and the rejection of his ex with the help of young woman who forces him to face his reality; and I enjoyed the performances but, I have to admit, I came away from it a little mystified by the acclaim and Oscar nominations.
What I liked: Bradley Cooper is excellent as Pat and he was convincing enough to let me forget he was ‘Bradley Cooper’. I was also happy to see Jacki Weaver nominated for her performance as Pat’s mother, the cracked glue trying desperately to hold her family together, as she could have easily been overlooked for the subtlety of her role compared to the neurosis around her. The casting is excellent and I liked that I could finally enjoy a romantic comedy that focused on the characters rather than the formulaic plot points.
What I didn’t like: I thought Robert de Niro was admirable as Pat’s equally neurotic father but there was so much depth to his character that it felt like Russell tried to force too much into the brief moments when he was on screen. That is only one instance where I felt the editing failed. The transitions also felt strained and at times I wanted to see the missing gaps that had been pared down to make this choppy final cut. Finally, Jennifer Lawrence was enjoyable as Tiffany and her performance stands above the role of ‘love interest’ in most romantic comedies but I never forgot for a moment that she was ‘Jennifer Lawrence.’
My rating: Don’t believe the hype. Sure it’s a good, heartfelt, funny movie but Best Picture? Nah.
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%