It's definitely been a movie week at our house! Yesterday we watched Silver Linings Playbook (again) and Django Unchained and today I watched Les Miserables. I loved all three movies so much and for so many different reasons.
Django Unchained is the perfect example of why I have loved Quentin Tarantino since From Dusk Til Dawn. He is a theatrical genius and this movie is brilliant! The casting was flawless, the music was perfect, and the artistry was breathtaking.
Les Miserables is (obviously) the remake of a remake of a remake of the great classic novel by Victor Hugo. The story centers around the character Jean Valjean (played by Hugh Jackman) who is serving a nineteen year sentence and his redemption. Anne Hathaway is REMARKABLE as Fantine, a desperate mother who sells everything she has to offer in order to save her daughter, Cosette (played by Amanda Seyfreid). My only complaint was Russell Crowe's singing... no bueno.
Silver Linings Playbook is amazing. If I could think of another adjective to describe this movie more accurately, I would. Silver Linings Playbook presents several characters who are beautifully flawed and breaks the stigma behind mental illness. Silver Linings Playbook centers around several characters with mental illnesses... bipolar disorder, depression, and OCD and for the first time in Hollywood, these characters are presented as human beings who are attempting to live as normally as one can in a society that does not understand them. They are not being represented as caged lunatics as was the case in One Flew Over the Coockoos Nest or maniacal murderers (Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction); these characters are beautiful, sensitive, and loving... just as we all are.
Pat (played by Bradley Cooper) struggles with the fact that he has a mental illness. He refuses to take his medications and exercises for hours a day in order to keep his mind occupied and his bipolar episodes under control. Did you know that nearly 30% of Americans suffer from a diagnosed mental disorder? This percentage does not include those who suffer in silence- those who attempt to escape the stigma by remaining undiagnosed and untreated. Americans have made mental illnesses such a 'dirty word' that those who suffer from them would rather remain untreated than to make it known that they are suffering.
Can you imagine breaking your leg and continuing to walk on it? Would you even think twice before rushing to the hospital for treatment?
Why should people have to suffer in silence out of fear that they will be ridiculed for having a diagnosis that is completely out of their control?
Silver Linings Playbook gives a voice to the 58 million Americans who have been brave enough to receive treatment for mental illnesses and to the undiagnosed who suffer in silence. The characters in this beautiful movie represent your neighbors, your friends, your family, yourself.
We can all learn a thing or two from the characters in Silver Linings... they embraced their illnesses and focused upon optimism in a world full of pessimists. They had every reason to be hateful and negative but they chose to laugh, love, and dance.