, Salem, MA


January 21, 2013

Oscar season: Talking about the movies everyone's talking about


The two best movies of the list that I’ve seen are “Lincoln” and “Silver Linings Playbook.” While “Argo” may entertain more thoroughly or consistently, that’s all it did — it amused and I moved on — while these two stayed with me and keep coming back to mind. Lincoln, the man, in this film is fragile, sweet, funny, sad and smart. It’s remarkably conventional filmmaking, but with rewarding characterization and dialogue. I watched the historical politics through the lens of today. As I did, I gained some sympathy for the compromises inherent in rhetoric and process, and consequently I’ll see it again.

“Silver Linings Playbook” is the movie I most want to see again. I laughed, I cried, I was surprised, and I saw truth, hard and hopeful. Using the tools that film uniquely provides, director David O. Russell reveals the joy, pain, consequences and complexity of being a broken human being in physical, spiritual and psychological relationships.

“Silver Linings Playbook” is the story of a young man who struggles with mental illness, attempting to control the uncontrollable through attitude and physical exercise. There’s a moment where I laughed out loud at the refreshing audacity and ridiculousness of honesty. There’s another where I cringed as a fellow viewer laughed at what was an ugly, unfunny horror.

It’s a surprisingly earnest yet appropriately unstable story that made me want to be — and to love — a little better and more authentically. It won’t win Best Picture, but I’m glad the filmmakers with influence in Hollywood deemed it good enough for a nod, because that may mean what they make next will be good, too.


Rini Cobbey is an associate professor and chairwoman of the communication arts department at Gordon College, where she teaches film criticism.

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