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Darkest Hour
in select cities on
November 22, 2017

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Darkest Hour

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Silver Linings Playbook

If I see one more film this week about mental illness, marital problems, football and Dancing with the Stars in one plot, I just don’t know what I’m gonna do….so is the crazy-yet-believable-plot of director David O. Russell’s movie in his follow-up to his 2010 Mark Wahlberg success with The Fighter.

Pat (Bradley Cooper) has a few screws loose. He doesn’t cooperate. He spits out his meds, and he challenges his group counselors.  But after eight months of lockdown, he returns home to his mother (Jackie Weaver) and his father (Robert DeNiro.) But this ain’t Meet the Parents.  Instead it’s a slick study of a man, Cooper’s character Pat, who tries to come to terms with the affair of his wife, Nikki. Pat is determined to win her back via his delusions that their still together.  And he does this by believing in a set of rules he continues to shout out called  “Excelsoir!” so long as Ernest Hemingway and the music from Stevie Wonder’s My Cherie Amour don’t come up in conversation. 

Bradley Cooper shows another side of his acting best previously exposed – not in the Hangover 0 but in Limitless. He can play vulnerable and bipolar, he can play ADD and OCD. He can play very human and flawed.  They say true love is about letting go and seeing if the loved one that we seek returns on their own, but in the meantime, you have to stay tough in order to “have a chance at the silver lining.” 

 To keep Pat’s mind off things or otherwise engaged (depending how you look at it) is his neighbor Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) just as much a crackpot since the death of her husband. She’s highly aggressive and unstable.  When Lawrence is on screen she sucks the acting out of both Cooper’s and DeNiro’s performances making this her own movie.  (Deliberate on the director’s part or not, one can’t be sure. Russell, in my opinion, is far from a sophisticated director, his movies always short some sort of charm, but he does bring us into Pat’s mindset.)  Someow Lawrence’s character of Tiffany becomes larger than life and Pat becomes small. Or weak. He’s not a hotty from the Hangover, he’s a damaged soul sinking deeper into letting go.  That said, together, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper become somewhat of a twisted team and in these two ‘half’ people we almost find a whole. Sort of.  And that makes for 3 tiaras.

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Phantom Thread
In theaters Christmas 2017

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Phantom Thread

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