Silver Linings in Paris
Silver Linings Playbook and Midnight in Paris
Silver Linings Playbook tells the story of two troubled people, unsure of themselves and having difficulty working through traumatic events in their past (plus mental instability), who come together and find their way to a silver lining. Ahem. Midnight in Paris follows a writer obsessed with the artistic romance of the city who discovers a secret cab ride that allows him to travel back in time to the roaring 1920s, when all his favorite artists and writers were living in the city of lights. Each night, he journeys back to them and finds spiritual fulfillment on his walks at midnight in Paris. Ahem.
A few thoughts about these films:
- Both movies follow men unsure of themselves and struggling to find their way, but where Bradley Cooper’s disequilibrium comes from his recent stay in an asylum, Owen Wilson’s seems to spring from his disquiet over his own talent.
- Both films challenge viewers to look forward rather than back. The characters come to see that dwelling in the past prevents healing and progress, and ultimately suggest that the past we think we cherish doesn’t exist at all.
- Both movies thrive because of their supporting casts, but SLP has a tighter group than does MiP.
- The cities at the heart of the films also take a key place in the narrative, particularly Paris.
I really liked Midnight in Paris and was less enamored of Silver Linings Playbook. I enjoy character-development films in which people grow, but I find them less compelling when the deep acting moments need to be prompted by devices like making the characters mentally unstable. Comparing Silver Linings Playbook to another crisis movie like Jeff, Who Lives at Home, I feel the tension created by the mental imbalance gets in the way rather than helping.