Again, I find myself talking about a movie that was nominated for several Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and received the Academy Award for Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence). I saw this one a few days after the ceremony as well.
This movie is brought to life by the same director who gave us The Fighter, a surprising-to-me movie that I enjoyed. Here, David O. Russell gives us the tale of a man trying to piece his life together after its disintegration due to his mental issues related to being bi-polar. We are not forced into an “origin” story – rather, Russell trusts his audience to pick things up as we move forward. What unfolds is a story that avoids becoming overwhelmingly dramatic and instead allows us to understand each character. In the hands of a lesser director, this could have easily turned into a Lifetime TV movie.
Bradley Cooper gives an outstanding performance as the main character. Within the first 10 minutes it is obvious as to why he received a Best Actor nomination. He could have easily won it had Daniel Day Lewis not done Lincoln this year. Robert DeNiro does well, but I am not certain it was worth a Best Supporting Actor nomination. The most intriguing performance to me was Chris Tucker’s – he actually showed that he can dial things back and if given good material, turn in a good performance.
The standout is Jennifer Lawrence without a doubt. She held her own acting alongside Cooper and DeNiro, and maybe even showed them a few tricks. This is reminiscent of Amy Adams’s performance in The Fighter. Lawrence has a long career ahead of her if she keeps getting the variety of roles she has so far that allow her to show her range.
My advice: Big screen is not necessary, but you will not waste money if you do go see it on one; definitely check it out as soon as you can…