Excelsior! Ten years after the release in Italian theaters of The Positive Side, we retrace David O. Russell’s dramedy through the (still) strong emotions of a story that seems to speak to us directly. Because we’ve all, at one time or another, felt like Pat and Tiffany, played by Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.
Some movies feel like they were written just for you. As if they were unexpected suggestions, glimpses of light in the midst of the storm. It is not trivial to say that cinema, and art in general, can have curative, or at least palliative effects, making us widen our horizons, our perspectives. Distraction and entertainment sometimes give way to a more intimate and direct structure, to an open reflection that pushes us to confront each other, putting order in a hodgepodge of feelings, emotions, torments. The big dream on the big screen, in a perpetual motion that flows to the time of the movies of the heart. Beyond tastes, beyond reasoned objectivity.
And then, it often happens to think back to one of dramedy which widened the diameter of the romantic comedy. A film protagonist of the change resulting from the 2000s, more focused on themes and characters, pushing for a direct and less artificial recognition: thus, ten years after the release in Italy of Bright side Of David O. Russell (The Silver Linings Playbookoriginal title, with which it was released in the USA), the memorable presence of its two protagonists, Pat and Tiffany, or Bradley Cooper And Jennifer Lawrence, is still extraordinarily strong. After all, the film, based on the novel by Matthew Quick, is a sort of survival manual, an illustrated booklet that explains how to shape necessity into virtue.
A motivational manifesto disguised as a highly dysfunctional romantic comedy – how dysfunctional and wonderful Pat and Tiffany are – capable of summarizing an important concept, freeing us from anxiety. Which? There’s time. We are on time. Let’s stop, let’s think, let’s start again. Let’s shake off the fears, because, as Pat says, in one of quotes most cited of the film, “You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to take all this negativity and use it as fuel to find the silver lining! That’s what I’m going to do! And it’s not bullshit, it’s not bullshit. It takes effort and that’s the truth!”. He, who has lost everything – home, job, wife – returned to live with his parents (great couple, Robert DeNiro And Jackie Weaver) after a nervous breakdown following a bipolar disorder. It’s difficult, he doesn’t deny it, but he will try in every way to restart from affection and awareness.
About the role, Bradley Cooper, at the time of the release de Bright sideShe said: “Some things you can’t get over. Still, thanks to what happened to Pat, you understand better. That’s one of the important points of the film. Many people have told me that they see themselves in him…”. A role that should have gone to Mark Wahlberg, while Anne Hathaway should have been Tiffany. Strange intersections, differences and fate that will put its signature on it: only after a dazzling audition did the director choose the new Hollywood star, Jennifer Lawrence, who got the Oscar for the role (yes, when she slipped on the Dolby Theater stairs) . A neuralgic role, the soul of the film, the paradigm of excelsior, on which Pat points: grappling with a mourning, Tiffany will help the man to get back on top. In exchange, however, he will have to accompany her to a dance competition. A messy intonation, a stratospheric chemistry and a narrative maturity which, in fact, appears to be directed towards the spectators.
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Girls from the North Country
On the positive side – Silver Linings Playbook, in its linearity and simplicity, as well as being an example of narrative that mixes sweetness with cynicism, plays with contraries and opposites, then focusing on the sense of movement. In this case the dance is an integral part of the open conversation between Pat and Tiffany, moving body and soul of a film that soon became one of the new classics of Hollywood cinema.
You will remember the pastel colors of the soundtrack to do the rest Danny Elfmanmixed with the Alabama Shakes, Steve Wonder and that masterpiece of Girls from the North Country, played by a duet that made history: Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. To crown a light and chaotic, tender and angry, misunderstood and necessary film. After all, as Tiffany says, disheveled and beautiful: “The world finds a thousand ways to break your heart”. Nothing more true. And then, the ideal refuge is saving cinema, the one that vibrates and shines on the reflections of our eyes, wet with the salty tears of a very sweet (new) beginning. And yes, if it is not clear to you, “this is an emotion”.