Gab: Silver Linings Playbook suffers from bipolar identity disorder. It is both a gritty character study and a tired domestic drama, with mainstream rom-com clichés thrown in for good measure. I wanted to root for its compelling flashes of personal struggle and psycho-philosophical meaning, yet felt undermined by generic predictability and eye-rolling obviousness in character and plot. One can imagine the well-intentioned screenwriter baring his soul on the studio couch, only to be betrayed by audience feedback and marketing mumbo-jumbo. At one point, the film’s struggling protagonist hurls A Farewell to Arms out of his window, disgusted at its downbeat dénouement. I felt like doing the same with this story for the opposite reason; its upbeat ending is contrived and trite. It is tricky territory to cast aspersions on a portrayal of mental illness. But I find it hard to swallow a serious psychiatric disorder being dealt with by dancing. When the music stops, it is still the voices in our own heads that have the last word.
Dad: The voices in Gab and Dad’s heads are once again voices in the wilderness. Everyone seems to admire this film, except for us. What’s to like? The cobbled-together plot quickly collapsed into cliché. How can such dullness be thought of as inspiring? For a far better movie that possesses similar elements, check out The Sessions, which has a soul.
by Gab and Dad, check out their video review at YouTube
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