Expectations for this movie were set early on when everyone involved touted this to be a minor breakthrough when it came to illustrating mental illness to the masses. “Bradley Cooper met with VP Biden to discuss mental illness, must be important.” The first half does a good job of showing the manic and highs that come with being bipolar…but then something happens in the second half of the movie and beyond. Bradley Cooper never suffers the lows…no depression, no withdrawal from his family. He takes his pills and poof! Problem solved. Strike one. He runs into his shrink outside an Eagles game, they booze it up together. Alcohol is always recommended by most doctors prescribing meds to keep their patients balanced. And the movie plays it as a cute funny moment…the doc is cool because he painted his face and isn’t a buzzkill outside those therapy sessions. Strike two. All you need is Jennifer Lawrence to come into your life, teach you to dance, and fall in love to beat those pesky “mental” problems. The heart heals the mind. Strike three. I get this is only a movie but when a film touts itself to be this all important yet sweet lesson about big issues, it had better deliver. Instead people with no understanding of mental illness feel like they may understand it more because “you know the director’s son is bipolar so it must be accurate.” Bullshit. Fairy tales like this are far more dangerous than any Stallone or Schwarzenegger shoot em up that Hollywood cranks out. The lessons doled out are as realistic as The Avengers and far more insulting. The movie raises big issues and then ignores them (DeNiro has issues of his own, so does Lawrence) but they’re used only as plot devices for the sake of a feel good happy ending. I’m even cool with that…just don’t act like this movie is anything more than what it is: a fantasy. Tell me that, I’m more forgiving. Do what was done here? F-off David O. Russell. You either don’t understand your son, don’t understand the illness, or don’t care. No wonder Clooney wanted to knock you on your ass.

Stormy Curry

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