So far, David O. Russell’s The Silver Linings Playbook (Nov. 21) has emerged as the surprise of Toronto: the best rom-com in ages that has Jeff Wells in a state of euphoria, comparing it to The Apartment, among others, and predicting it’s a lock for a Best Picture nom.
It’s a modern screwball Philadelphia story of anger and healing between mental misfits Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Dancing on the edge of whimsy and bittersweet, The Weinstein Co. apparently has another major contender along with The Master and Django Unchained.
Speaking of The Master (Sept. 14), it won the Silver Lion at Venice, and the buzz is spreading about how great Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams are in Paul Thomas Anderson’s lacerating indictment of the American Dream and the search for identity. In 70mm, no less. Are we seeing a thematic pattern here?
Meanwhile, the ambitious, 2001-inspired Cloud Atlas (Oct. 26) has begun the great critical divide with its reincarnation rhapsody by the Wachowski siblings and Tom Tykwer. Again, an epic search for meaning and a bridge between the past and present as souls continue on a recurring path of enlightenment.
Anna Karenina (Nov. 16) is also garnering raves as well for Joe Wright’s subversive and theatrical re-imagining of the Tolstoy classic as The Red Shoes, of all films. Quite ballsy and a far cry from the already impressive Atonement and Pride and Prejudice. Of course, Keira Knightley benefits greatly from Tom Stoppard’s literate script and Wright’s dramatic and visual flair.
Then there’s Argo (Oct. 12), the talk of Telluride. Ben Affleck directs and headlines a smart, taut, black comedy/docudrama about the CIA’s outrageous attempt to rescue six Iranian hostages in ’79 using a fake movie production as a front. Anne Thompson calls it “The Insider on steroids.”