Movie Review: Silver Linings

So I finally watched the movie Silver Linings Playbook based on Matthew Quick’s book The Silver Linings Playbook, with Jennifer Lawrence starring as Tiffany (which won her an Oscar, among other things) and Bradley Cooper (which won him an Oscar nomination, among others) Pat.

Because book and movie are two vastly different mediums, a word-for-word transformation into a movie is impossible. Quite few things – quite few important things – were left out or changed for the sake of movie. I’m not going to compare those two and say which is better, because that’d be stupid of me. In each format there are things you miss and things you rejoice in.

What I liked about the movie is the expansion on Tiffany’s character – Jennifer Lawrence’s acting is impressive (esp. the raisin bran scene and Tiffany’s instability as a whole). Especially the part where she says that somehow she always manages to get herself into fucked-up situations touched me. I think if the book had allowed the readers to get a peek into Tiffany’s mind, we would have found a similar woman. The more I think about it the more different movie-Tiffany and book-Tiffany are. Movie-Tiffany is a lot more confrontational (facing Pat’s dad and about the “curse”) and open about her emotions (opening up with an almost stranger at the diner and then getting hurt by his judging) than book-Tiffany. She’s also more frank, I think. I did like the part where Pat is fascinated by Tiffany’s sexual, uh, adventures (of course he went on to ruin it by basically telling her she’s slut) but book-Tiffany didn’t open up about her sickness until much later. Book-Tiffany is more cautious about offering anything – be it emotion or information. Because she’s so closed in, she’s more vulnerable inside. Of course, no doubt the aggressive-Tiffany is in there somewhere. Not getting to know Tiffany better was my only complaint about the book, and now I feel like I did get to know a part of her. So, thank you, movie.
Oh, and also the dancing scene! SO beautiful! The visual factor is the biggest strength of movies, in my opinion. Seeing it sure beats reading about the dancing. Pat’s mom’s strength showed through even in the movie, I think, although it was toned down quite some. (Even though they couldn’t ask Jennifer Lawrence to become the superb dancer that book-Tiffany is described as. But I still found her really good at dancing.)
Regarding the ending I like both versions fine – the more-Pat-and-Tiffany-like book ending and the silver-linings-like ending. I think the movie played the story as a romantic comedy one, which isn’t necessarily bad. It’s just that the book strikes another tone, so if you have watched the movie first, be prepared for the book.

What I didn’t like about the movie is that Pat already knew about the Incident from the very beginning. This let the tension and suspense out of the story – but I suppose such a thing is harder to keep out of movies than out of books. I also found it unrealistic that Nikki showed up at the dancething, after all that happened. The fact alone that the Pat Peoples is quite different from Pat Solatano doesn’t bother me that much. Pat Peoples was an unreliable narrator (in a way) due to the head trauma but that doesn’t make the book a bad one. Since that would have been difficult to translate onto screens, we have a bipolar disorder instead. Oooh, two more things that bothered me a lot: 1) I missed the beautiful friendship shared between Pat and his brother Jake. 2) The racist remarks hurled at the Asian Invasion and Dr. Petal (although at least in one instance the movie marks it as a problem, in other scenes it is overplayed as a sense of humor. Nope, making fun of foreigners and foreign cultures is NOT a joke material.).

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