“After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.” IMDB’s summary.
***** SPOILER ALERT *****
This movie has been nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars but personally I’m really not impressed. I don’t understand why the movie has all this hype around it. Is it because it discusses bipolar disorder, violence, sex addiction, racism, sibling rivalry and typical father-son conflict? Ok. Sure. But a movie can be about one of those things and be good. This movie wasn’t. To me it seemed to be about co-dependency and none of the characters really evolved. They were just happy to support each other’s co-dependent ways in a noisy fashion.
I found the actors seemed to be ‘acting’; in other words, I never connected to any of them. Actually, maybe only Jackie Weaver as Pat’s mother, I felt sorry for her character. Robert DeNiro seemed to doing a bit from Analyze that, just a little more OCD. (Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Analyze This and Anaylze That.) I also didn’t understand the over-acting on the part of Pat’s brother and his best friend, Randy.
Bradley Cooper has never really impressed me and I feel that even he could’ve done more with this character. But perhaps it’s the story or the way the characters were written. The movie is based on a novel of the same name and I have the feeling the book offers so much more. Ok, I get his ‘poor social skills’, rudeness and selfishness in the first few weeks out of the mental institution. That’s a given: it’s the ‘focus on me part’ of recovery. But I didn’t think his character really evolved. He just moved from distraction to obsession and back to distraction. We never really see him learn to handle his anger, other than the implication that he is now on medication. Yes, the focus, determination and discipline from the dancing is a good thing, but what’s next? Will Pat and Tiffany have a baby now to ensure they have another ‘project’ in the works so the relationship doesn’t implode? This was another time when I thought maybe the book had more. Dealing with a disorder is a personal journey and if you’re telling a story about that, then shouldn’t the journey be in there somewhere? Maybe I’m not getting it.
Tiffany is perhaps the only character that seemed to almost get ‘it’. She tries and you can see that. “I was a slut. There will always be a part of me that is dirty and sloppy, but I like that, just like all the other parts of myself. I can forgive. Can you say the same for yourself, f****r? Can you forgive? Are you capable of that?”
And then, later on when she stands up for herself and demand that Pat do something for her she says: “I do this! Time after time after time! I do all this s**t for other people! And then I wake up and I’m empty! I have nothing!”
But, in the end, when he professes his love for her, she doesn’t recognize that she has become a ‘project’ herself.
Maybe I’ll give it another go in a few weeks. Maybe I was coming down from my high of watching The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which filled me with a haunting and nostalgic hope instead of a moody exasperating impatience.