What To Watch Thursday: Silver Linings Playbook and Reality

What To Watch Thursday: Silver Linings Playbook and Reality

Mar 8, 2013 |  by  |  Art, Event
About the author
Born and raised in this amazing city, Steven (25) remembers quite vividly the first film that as a young boy got him addicted to cinema: The Neverending Story. And it really is a never-ending story, his grand film study has gone on ever since. Since then his taste has extended beyond such a fantasy coming-of-age film and will now guide you to what to see and what to skip.

What To Watch Thursday is Overdose’s weekly film concept: every Thursday – which traditionally is Premiere-night in the cinemas across Amsterdam – we will review at least two films that are definitely worth your while. Our main goal is to shield you from horrible films and wasting your precious time. In the process we will try and give you as much in-depth background, without spoiling anything!

Silver Linings Playbook

Anticipation: With his last film The Fighter, David O. Russell became Hollywood’s sweetheart: playing it straight and by mainstream rules. Russell who was know in the past for slightly more subversive films like Three Kings (1999) and I Heart Huckabees (2004), seemed to have lost his dark comic edge. For this reason not many cinephiles will have highly anticipated Russell’s new star-packed studio picture and it’s stellar cast. However, when Silver Linings Playbook received some serious critical acclaim and 8 Oscar nominations to boot – only leading-star Jennifer Lawrence won – the tables seemed to turn.

Appreciation:This is a story of damaged romantics. First introduced is Pat (Bradley Cooper) just release from the loony bin, he – while trying to vanquish his demons – is desperately trying to reconnect with his wife (Brea Bee). The reason for his forced stint in the mental institution was a violent outburst, that got ignited by him walking in on his wife cheating. Still, after eight months in the hospital and despite the freshly installed restraining order he is determined to get his spouse back. Pat is quite the basket case. Salvation, however, doesn’t come from his unfaithful wife but from mysterious girl-next-door Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence).

Not surprisingly this films strength is not it’s realistic portrayal of mental health disorders, realistically this is feel-good cinema at it’s best. The fast-paced editing and dialogue might emphasize the protagonist’s jumpy behavior, or it might just be a stylistic approach – but regardless it amounts to a rich and compelling film. Warm and entertaining as it is though, for a film as applauded as SLP I was slightly disappointed with the end result. All and all it’s a very interesting film that shows some heart and comedy – but Russell never steers away too far from his feel-good routine. And perhaps the greatest trick Russell pulls here is making us not throw up in our popcorn over the forced romantics – while he nicely finishes up this film. And as the title makes clear on forehand: we will get to see a silver lined happy ending.

Length: 122 min.

Verdict: 3/5 – This is romcom routine at it’s best.

Where to see: Watch this film in Cineville’s The Movies and Studio K. Also in Pathé cinemas De Munt, Tuschinski and Arena.


Anticipation: Reality has been out for some time now, and for numerous reasons I didn’t get around reviewing it just jet. However, this film has some extraordinary circumstances that it comes with and these make up for reasons to review it now. After the critically acclaimed Gomorrah, Matteo Garrone returns and his second feature couldn’t have been more different. Reality is a dark comic look at Italy’s southern ‘proletarian’ society and perhaps that is the only similarity with Gommorah. For his male lead he casted Aniello Arena as Luciano, a attention-loving and affable fishmonger who dreams of becoming famous. One of those extraordinary circumstances is the fact that in real life, Arena is an formerly incarcerated mobster hit-man. During his life-sentence for murder, Arena was allowed to take leave in order to play the part of Luciano.

Appreciation: This time Garrone sets his gaze at the insanity that is reality television. Luciano obsesses with being a contestant on the famous reality show Big Brother. His obsession with the show leads him down a rabbit hole of paranoia and eventually he finds his everday life in turmoil. It’s a interesting enough premise and Luciano’s fall from grace is enjoyable enough. The film very much reads like a documentary flick and makes you ponder some bigger questions. However, there’s something essentially slippery about Reality, a sense that Garonne is toying with the audience as to how seriously we might take this film. Obviously, this is satire – but the bigger question might be is he really just trying to tell us that reality TV has its adverse side effects on the Italian society? In the end it seems that for all his social criticism – ultimately Garonne leaves us unsatisfied.

Length: 116 min.

Verdict: 3/5 – Garonne’s wryly comic satire is rich enough, though his next film will be the real test of his cinematic mettle.

Where to see: Watch this film in Cineville’s De Uitkijk and Rialto.

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