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Yes, No, Maybe So: "Silver Linings Playbook"

I apologize ahead of time for not including the trailer we are about to discuss in the post but I have a firm policy against ads ON ads. So when movie trailers come with ads SAY NO. I will not watch a commercial in order to see a commercial. Hollywood has tricked people into thinking that trailers are free cliff-note movies but no, they are just commercials. So, I won't. I won't! And all the embeds without ads were fuzzy so I can't. I can't.

Wait, I found one just as I was about to post this. Okay embedded. For you.

"Calm down crazy," quoth Jennifer Lawrence (and the Sassy Gay Friend before her)

But yes Silver Lining Playbook trailer is upon us and so we must break it down with the Yes, No, Maybe So™ system.


  • David O. Russell has yet to make a bad film. Spanking the Monkey, Flirting With Disaster, Three Kings, I ♥ Huckabees, and The Fighter... they're all special in one way or another. And the last two (Huckabees, The Fighter just seem to get better and better all the time)
  • Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are both at very key moments in their careers and this could be a dual breakthrough: Bradley's achieved mainstream popularity but he hasn't proved himself in prestige actor's pieces with important directors; Jennifer needs to show there's more in her than tough Appalachian girls with mad survival skills (Winter Bones, Hunger Games) because there are only so many of those roles.
  • If you were on "Team Jacki"  by way of Animal Kingdom in 2010 like Movie|Line and The Film Experience, isn't it great to see her pop up in a big supporting role opposite an actual giant of cinema (Yes, De Niro still qualifies historically even though he hasn't truly wowed for about 21 years now.). So glad she got a good agent because some unlikely Oscar nominees vanish, you know?
  • That Hemingway bit is funny.
  • As are the dinner party Klonopin faces. 


  • Isn't mental illness cute and funny? 
  • A dance competition for the mentally ill. Really? This could all go so twee with any fumble of choreography and turn into a movie only Zooey Deschanel and Greta Gerwig's Damsel in Distress might love.


Team Jacki 2012 Edition


  • This looks rather visually unappealing but then Russell's filmography doesn't always look as special as it is closeup from a distance. And it could be the quality of the trailer which isn't available in glorious quicktime. Boo.
  • The world is desperately in need of funny smart romantic comedies. And Russell can do funny. Every single movie he's made has huge quality laughs.
  • Is it just me or does Jennifer Lawrence actually look like she's playing it too broad here? Big line readings. "This is a funny line I'm saying" indicators. I'm slightly worried. And I've just realized that I've never seen her do comedy before.
  • I'm getting a whiff of The Descendants here. i.e. a filmmaker I really love suddenly making an inauthentic stiff blunder that everyone but me thinks is Best Picture Quality Heartwarming. I can't take that two years in a row! Pass the Klonopin.

 The trailer what scooped me up and made me mental.

Are you a Yes, No, or Maybe So?
And I suppose I should switch Jennifer Lawrence from the Supporting Chart to the Lead one now. Has anyone read the book?

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Reader Comments (21)

Big Jennifer Lawrence fan here. Totally team Yay. And Jacki Weaver.

ALSO, I want to start a church devoted to the opening section of this post. I totally agree. I refuse to watch a trailer if there is an ad in front of it. It's a commercial!

July 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRJ

There were a lot of critics who noted that they felt Lawrence had "limited range." I don't know if I buy into that, but I do feel this will be a pivotal test for her.

July 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBia

This looks like the movie might be vastly different in tone than the trailer, specifically less funny. I feel like they cut a few parts as if they were laugh lines, but they're not actually funny. "You say more things that are inappropriate than appropriate" seems more like a character beat than a funny line, as does "how did Tommy die?"

July 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

I'm really hoping that, with this and Stoker (assuming it's still a 2012 release), this year becomes the year of Jacki Weaver killing it in great supporting roles.

July 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjbaker475

I have to watch this, if only to make up for not watching her in "The House at the End of the Street" later this year. Just not into the horror genre.

July 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarl

I'll just plug the Quartet trailer here again - its on youtube - do tell what you think :P

But Yes, for Jennifer and Jacki :D EEEE!

July 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermorganisaqt

I was just going to post the same thing that Rebecca did. I have no way of knowing for sure (just a hunch), but I would bet money on the movie having a significantly different tone than the trailer. There's at least one of those every year, and the "haha, wacky crazy people!" thing just seems weird. I immediately grow suspicious of the marketing when serious subject matter is presented as a comedy. That happens sometimes, of course, but I prefer to give the movie the benefit of the doubt until I see it.

July 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz N.

Young Adult had that impression on me too. The trailer's tone was polar opposite different than the trailer's. From the time the trailer first popped up, I was expecting a witty comedy, and what I got was a dissection of a mentally-ill woman with a very dark tone. I hope this goes around the time, because God knows this trailer feels too broad and uninteresting.

July 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

This will be a great movie; the book by Matthew Quick was a very good. And plus I don't think David O. Russell would make just a standard rom com. He has a great cast.
Regarding Jennifer Lawrence...she doesn't need to prove herself. She has been great in everything I've seen her it (and I've seen all her films); she is going to have a great career. And I don't think she is playing her lines too broadly, as you suggested. Really? She will be great in this movie (there have been many positive comments from the early screenings).

July 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAMke

Having read the book, I give this a definite YES and I'll address some of the questions. Yes, the story is a comedy, but yes it does get dark and serious at times. What they play up in the trailer is the romance; the actual central force that's driving Pat isn't even addressed in the trailer. The snippets I've seen of Jennifer Lawrence doing comedy are very encouraging, though she can be a little punchline-happy sometimes. Still, she got more than a few raves after the extended 7-min trailer was shown at Cannes.

July 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTwinkie81

I agree that the real problem behing Pat's mental issue is not even touched a bit here. And based on the book, during the big dance, Pat (Cooper) is supposed to be dancing shirtless but it doesn't look like it in the trailer *major disappointment*

And as for Lawrence's part, I think it's more of a supporting along with Jackie Weaver.

July 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike

I love Jacki Weaver!

I actually was expecting Jennifer Lawrence to be awful because of your description, but she wasn't for me. I don't think she was great from what I saw, she didn't seem to be truly depressed (though we obviously didn't see much). If anything, I didn't think her lines were delivered too broadly, but her character felt a bit broad. Idk idk.

I'm a maybe so. Bradely Cooper actually looks pretty good though.
And I agree with some of the others, I feel like it'll be more serious than it's being marketed.
I remember being excited about Young Adult because I knew it would be more serious than it was marketed, but it was so unsympathetic and unapologetic that it felt awkward and unsatisfying on the first viewing until you digest it and really think about it.

July 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

I'm a cautious yes - I doubt that Russell has made a standard romcom (I hate when they make trailers that are misleading about a film's tone, showing that the studios don't have the courage of their convictions - and why mislead people only to piss them off later?)

Bradley Cooper looks really good here though; I'm struggling with depression right now and I buy him even in these snippets we see. Lawrence, I'm more cautious about. (And DeNiro? The man is dead to me.)

The Hemingway bit was funny at first, but then went on too long I thought. But again, I need to see it in context (another thing about trailers - sometimes the best bits aren't even in the final cut of the film.)

July 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanice

Read the book somewhat recently and loved it! After I saw that Jennifer Lawrence was cast as Tiffany I was elated! Love all her movies and I'm really interested to see what she does with the character. I love Bradley Cooper but from what I've seen in the trailer I feel like he's not really the Pat from the book. I was expecting that character to look and act differently. Loved the book and pretty excited to see how the movie turns out

July 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKrista

@Krista, when I read the book, I kept seeing Mark Wahlberg as Pat because he was originally cast and I thought he fit perfectly. It looks like they've toned down his crazy a bit for the film. Hopefully Bradley does it justice. I like what I saw.

@Mike, in the book, Tiffany is arguably the largest supporting role and Pat is the only true main character; however, after reading comments from people who have seen more of the movie, it looks like they've focused on her role more. The experts I've seen talking about it have said she'd submit as lead for award season.

@Philip, Tiffany is very complex, but definitely focused. She is critical to driving the story along.

July 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTwinkie81

Remember how the trailer for The Fighter made it seem like a typical Hollywood boxing movie? The actual film had a lot more personality (for lack of a better word). I suspect that is the only way Hollywood can market David O. Russell's films. I'm a yes based on this trailer. I like the cast and the funny bits are pretty funny, with the promise of enough added weight to ground the film.

July 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

I quite liked this trailer more than I thought I would. Very excited.

Nate, have you seen the trailer for Red Hook Summer yet? Another movie whose trailer left me pleasantly surprised. Would love to hear your analysis of it.

July 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJason

yes and i don't know why but i feel it's a sad vibe

July 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterfrench girl


Your last point about the trailer reminding you of The Descendants has me worried as I was also in your camp regarding that fakety fake piece of fake. I quite like David O. Russell (The Fighter brought new levels of respect for his direction) so I'm really scared if it goes down that route + the nauseating 'Isn't mental illness cute and funny?' point which is an instant turn-off. Still, O. Russell + Jackie Weaver + new Lawrence + possibly a serious breakout for Cooper make this one to keep an eye on.

Janice - IKR? DeNiro, who?

July 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMark The First

I also think the trailer is playing up the humor. I have a feeling it a bit darker and drier with more of a focus on the challenges of living with depression and how something as small as meeting a new person can be what you need to start recovering. It didn't feel forced to me. It felt real. I'm a yes.

July 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Lawrence is hilarious in interviews, I hope that comedic sense translates well to movies. And about the film itself, I don't know, I trust O'Rusell, but this has "Garden State" written all over it, which is a good and bad thing.

July 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLucky
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