Of the uplifting power of movies; and blue-eyed, French-speaking leading men…

Of the uplifting power of movies; and blue-eyed, French-speaking leading men…

The magical screen

Une année merdique. A sh-$%&#@ year. From the look of things, this is what 2013 is shaping up to be. Wherever you turn, sick, tired, depressed people. Bad news in the media. Bad news all around. January in Seattle. ‘Nuff said. 

Au secours. Help. Beam me up Scotty! Take me to a fun, happy place. I know: Take me to the movies. 

Before I even set a foot in a movie theater, as I watched old American western movies or comedies on TV with my family on rainy Sunday afternoons, Le cinéma has always been by my side, my oldest and most faithful friend. My readers know I love movies. And as I like to remind people, I have seen A LOT of them.

A few weeks ago, several friends mentioned a good movie I had to go see, but struggled to describe it to me. “Well, it sort of is a romantic comedy; but not really; well… at least not until the end… It’s funny. And sad. It’s hard to explain. Great actors. Oh and… [added as an afterthought] Bradley Cooper is the lead actor!” 

Well… Why didn’t you say so? 

J’aime bien Bradley. I like Bradley. He would have deserved a better name, but I like Bradley. 

He is a decent actor and is not afraid to tackle challenging and diverse roles. Ok. Let’s be honest. Bradley also has looks. The eyes. The smile. 

The body.

Mostly, I like Bradley because he seems like a nice guy. He is kind to his fans. He is a devoted son.

Lucky fan…

Bradley et Maman

Bradley’s best friend is his dog, Charlotte. He never goes anywhere without her. 

Bradley and “his girl”
Charlotte, the Chow mix, a rescue
Traveling the world with Char’

Always there for his girl…

Oh, and let’s not forget one of the most interesting things about Bradley: He speaks fluent French. Quite impressive in an industry where so many of his colleagues barely speak English when they go off script, don’t you think? 

When Bradley toured Europe a couple of years ago to promote the Hangover II, and was interviewed – en français – on French TV, journalists – and women around the world – swooned. Yep. That’s right, kids. Six months spent in a foreign country as an exchange student (Aix-en-Provence in Bradley’s case,) will expand your horizons and enrich your resume…

Bradley en France
(if you need to be cheered up, scroll down to the end of the post for the video clip) 

Oui, les amis, sounding smart, articulate, funny, and interesting in a foreign language is no small feat. Respect. 

But I digress. This post was also about that movie my friends wanted me to see. By now, everyone and heard of “the little movie that could…”

Silver Linings Playbook has attracted a lot of attention, and is the first movie in 31 years to be nominated in all categories for the upcoming Academy Awards. The high caliber cast has been recognized, of course: Best Actor nomination (Bradley Cooper,) Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence,) Best Supporting Actor (Robert de Niro,) Best Supporting Actress (Jacki Weaver.) Impressive.

In France, the movie has been renamed Happiness Therapy. Don’t ask.

Watch out. Spoilers headed your way. 
Scroll down to the video clip at the end of the post if you have not seen the movie yet.

When I stepped into the theater to watch Silver Linings Playbook, on that rainy Seattle morning, I did not know what to expect. I had not read much about it. I knew it was about a bi-polar guy, who had problems with anger management; and a troubled girl, who was vaguely nymphomaniac. It was a romantic comedy… or maybe it wasn’t. You’ve got to give me credit, les amis: I don’t get scared easily. 

La chance sourit aux audacieux. Fortune rewards the bold: What a gem of a movie that was!

My friends did not get it right. Silver Linings Playbook is a romantic comedy, right from the start. It is just so sharp, so unconventional, and served by such a talented cast, that audiences are challenged, and destabilized, ten minutes into the movie.

Imagine that. An edgy, off-beat comedy, where lead actors actually have chemistry. A movie that is never predictable; entertains; makes you laugh (or cry) in the same scene. A movie that avoids traditional Rom-Com clichés, and shows grit and emotion. Utterly believable, and yet so dysfunctional… a bi-polar movie. 

Jennifer and Bradley:
These kids have INSANE chemistry– Let the rumor mill spin!

The jogging scenes: my favorites
(and who, other than Bradley, can look good wearing a GARBAGE BAG?!)

The director, David O. Russel, cast his actors well. I loved all the actors’ performances, large or small. 

Bradley and Robert: Father and son.
Is Silver Linings Playbook perfect then?

Non. I was disappointed when during the last ten minutes, things took a turn for… the predictable. It was as if, after challenging audiences for two hours and treating them like smart people, the screenplay writer and the director had decided all of a sudden to let them regroup and had thrown at them a satisfying, but all too easy Hollywood ending. Pass the popcorn. Make that a large one. 

Dommage. Too bad.

Still, do not hesitate. Run and see Silver Linings Playbook. It does what movies are supposed to do: It challenges you; makes you think; entertains; and you will leave happy and (mostly) satisfied. 

Chapeau! Hats off!

I am going to need a lot more like you, Silver Linings Playbook, if I am to survive the winter of 2013. Cinéma, mon ami, I am counting on you.

A bientôt.

Need to smile? Skip the “Happy Pills:” Bradley parle Français ici…

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76 Responses to Of the uplifting power of movies; and blue-eyed, French-speaking leading men…

  1. My daughter just saw it and really liked it..I just know I would..
    My friend just saw Amour w/ JL Trintignant..Deeply moving.She loved it and recommended I see it.. she liked Quartet also with Maggie Smith..

    So..I am not the one suggesting..But I love my friend and my daughter and their tastes:)
    I really like Bradley Cooper too Véronique♥

  2. Wow, only six months?? Impressionnant, indeed! I had to skip half of your post for fear of spoilers, but a good-looking young actor who speaks un français impeccable and has a dog of similar breeding to mine named after the city I live in…well, he bears watching.

  3. Hello Veronique

    Thank you for the lead. I will certainly go see it. Bradley Cooper is handsome and if he could speak French too, well “I’m weak in the knees” already
    Thanks for a great post and wishing you sunshine and good news.

    Helen xx

  4. When I first encountered Bradley Cooper in a film, I thought he seemed a little arrogant, not that outstanding. I just didn’t understand why he was such a heart throb. Then I saw the clip of him speaking and joking in French and I totally lost it! How adorable. I get it. So few Americans speak another language, the lazy bums. Oh Bradley, il est charmant.

  5. Bonjour Veronique! Umm okay… you may not have the sunshine but I just got depressed. First Jody Foster and now Bradley Cooper. C’est pas possible! Qu’est-ce que tu penses? Ils se sont parlé? They don’t even have a french mom…and here I am teaching people at work how to say, tais-toi. A basic french – I’m a little ashamed. I’ll get over it. Maybe some day you’ll come to the 96 Corners and practice with me. At least we have sunshine…I’m not sure if they have Bradley though.;) xx

    • Hello Sandy from the 96 Corners (the number of corners keeps increasing with each comment, did you notice? 🙂

      I know that Jody Foster attended the Lycée Français in Los Angeles. After all these years, she still speaks fluently. She is one smart lady, Jody. As for Bradley, if he could get this comfortable after just 6 months in France, well… Handsome AND smart is what that tells me. A winning combination.

      I would love to help you practice (while working on my tan in the 98 Corners (!) one day…. 🙂

  6. You can’t help but love a handsome fellow with beautiful eyes who loves his Mom, his dog, and speaks French.

    My son was an exchange student in Aix-en-Provence too! And look what happened. He became French and remained. What’s in the water in Aix?

    Veronique, I agree with you….films and a glass of wine cure everything! Great post!

    • Suzanne: Exactement. As I said above, a winning combination 🙂

      There is definitely something in the water in Aix. I am going to look up French language schools there so I can recommend them to my students when they ask…

  7. Silver Linings Playbook has been on our list of movies to see and we keep checking to see if we can download it on line. I don’t really like to go to the theater as we are on the go so much already. Thanks Veronique for confirming that this is a movie we want to see. For a pleasant movie to see with some romance, have you seen Trouble with Curves starring Clint Eastwood? Not a best picture but definitely a pleasant movie to watch.

  8. Oh la la Veronique, J’adore Bradley Cooper! He is so handsome and sexy. I will definitely watch his movie. “silver Linings.” Thank you for making my day! 🙂

  9. Holy sweet Hollywood mother. I could watch that video of him speaking French FOREVER. My heart is melting right now.

    It’s funny, but after I saw Silver Linings Playbook a couple weeks ago, I read his IMDB trivia where it stated he was fluent in French and I actually thought of you! Hahahaha!!!

    He’s so delicious. And in FRENCH. Oh, I die. This is too much.

  10. Wow! He is a hottie. And yes, i’m seriously swooning. Must run out and see this as soon as possible. And i sure need a distraction with all this rain and the gray skies of a Pacific Northwest winter. The darkness in the movie theater will be FUN!

  11. Dearest Véronique,
    What a pleasure to hear French and Bradley speaks very well French and is so natural with it. Indeed, living abroad at that age and studying will give you an EDGE. And that’s for the rest of your life. Love the way you point that out too. Each time I also admire your writing skills, you keep a reader really captivated!
    Hugs to you and oui, chapeau!

    • And thank you very much for your nice comment, Mariette. I did the same thing as Bradley… in Atlanta, GA. I can tell you with absolute certainty that being able to speak English with a French accent AND a Southern drawl has given me a big EDGE! 🙂

  12. OMG!! He speaks French too!

    I had the same thoughts about the movie Veronique. I bought the DVD…having heard it was a great film and assuming it was a romantic comedy. The first 10 minutes into the film and I knew something was amiss..it was not what I thought..it was even better.

    Gutsy and real and filled with hidden mysteries. My heart broke for the mother, so wanting her son to be better..at any cost. It was clear the father was suffering from the same disease but had found his own coping mechanisms…in a way. The girl..a mixed up jumble of emotions and that scene when she called all the football scores to the father…magic.

    Bradley was superb and is showing us he is more than the Hangover guy…I think we will see great things from him in the future. I still can’t get over that he speaks French..how did he speak the language? Do you approve?

    Thumbs up on the movie from me..I wrote to my 22 year old daughter and told her she MUST see the film… xx

  13. Hi French Girl, and unlike yourself and, it would appear, everyone else on this thread, I’ve never actually HEARD of this guy Bradley-Whatever-his-name-is. 🙂

    But who cares after all. This is a delightfully light-hearted piece of writing which also keeps me up to date on what’s happening in other corners of the cultural world and waters than the many others I swim in. I know a lot about a lot of things, but films and actors? Jesus. I don’t even have a TV!

    Suffice it to say that the last three times I went to the cinema were to see the Scorcese Rolling Stones film, Usual Suspects, and Mulholland Drive.

    Again, this was an agreeable and relaxing read, thanks. Phew! Makes a change from all that pompous and political stuff, that’s for sure, and that’s just how things should be.



    • Bienvenue, Fripouille. Glad you took a break from all that “pompous and political stuff” to stop by chez moi.

      So you had never heard of Bradley, eh? Well, you know who Robert de Niro is, at least, I am sure of it. This could be your justification to go and see the movie. One new year resolution you could tick off your list, just like that. “See at least one movie this year.” == Done, thanks to French Girl in Seattle.

      Mind you, Jennifer Lawrence is quite cute too. She is the new “Rising Star,” here in the US. Talented, I might add, for a 22 year old who never made it to high school. And surprisingly free spirited and refreshing.

      At any rate, the three movies you last saw in a theater (that’s what Americans call the big shiny places that reek of popcorn…) were quite good. Félicitations. My favorite would have to be Usual Suspects. A great flick. Kevin Spacey as “Kaiser Soze.” The vanishing limp in the last scene. Brilliant.

      I just had a horrible thought: I can’t imagine what my life would have been like had I gone to the movies only once a year, and, (with no TV,) had I been unable to watch DVDs at home either. That would have been the end of French Girl as we know her, certainly 🙂

      Bonne soirée.

  14. Rarely go to the movies, but this one is on my list. Saw Lincoln, and thought it was fabulous. All my friends are talking about Silver Linings, so I’ll be heading to the theatre one afternoon soon. This by the way is an excellent post! Great review of that handsome fellow. ‘-)

  15. Thanks for the movie heads up Veronique. I love him too. I didn’t read the spoiler bit because I want to see it for myself. I wonder if I can find it in VO…
    Also, I heard something on the radio this morning as I was taking the kids to school that I think I understood correctly (it was in French, mais oui!). Your favorite French speaking, hunky American Mr. Cooper will be speaking French in a movie about a chef or cooking or something, he’ll be filming here in France, and it will come out in 2014. Now there’s something else to cheer you up and look very, very forward to.
    Best and fat kisses,

  16. Bon, j’avais déjà envie de le voir, tu as fini de me convaincre. c’est vrai qu’il est craquouignant, le Bradley! J’adore ses yeux, son accent, .. et son talent d’acteur, bien sûr! :o)
    Rien de tel qu’un bon film pour nous remonter le moral, hein?!
    Bises et à bientôt!

  17. I haven’t yet seen the movie, but Bradley has recently been seen here, repeatedly, in different TV interviews, shows, during his promotion tour. Yes, his French is excellent and you seldom see an actor, a person, who gives such a totally sympathetic impression! Well, with your recommendations added to this, with the Oscar nominations…, I just have to go!

  18. Bradley Cooper speaking French – impressionnant and this fluent after a relatively short time as an exchange student. ‘Not just a pretty face’ then! You said I wouldn’t be disappointed if I popped over here….and you were right. Worth it just for the video clip and of course your excellent review. A good start to my day. Merci, Véronique et bonne fin de semaine!

  19. I haven’t had a celebrity crush in a long time, but if I did Bradley Cooper would be it. That French-speaking thing doesn’t hurt either. I’ve been wanting to see Silver Linings Playbook. Hopefully I can catch it before the Oscars.

    • Thank you for your visit and for leaving a comment. I think you will enjoy Silver Linings Playbook… I am a little too old for celebrity crushes, but I like Bradley. He has a couple of very good movies lined up… 🙂

  20. Oh, ma chère, it sounds as if you are experiencing a little “coup de blues” and could benefit from a weekend in New York.

    Bradley is adorable, but I think he will be even more appealing in a few years with a bit of patina on that young face. In the meantime, I am absolutely “sidérée” by his fluency in French….very impressive. Chapeau to our young American friend. In addition to which, he was confident, charming and very articulate. I am impressed.

    Gros bisous, M-T

    • My dear M-T, I do not need a “coup de blues” to want to come to New York. Ah, if only Seattle was closer to… well, you know, the rest of the civilized world… 🙂

      By the way, Bradley is almost 40 you know. I am so glad you are as impressed with his French as I am. He does really well, and apparently has a French language movie in the pipeline this year. This should be fun to watch!

    • Almost 40!!! Wow!! I remember when I thought that was really old. He’s young enough to be my son!!! Now that merits a BIG WOW!!!!

      Another B-day coming up for me next Wednesday (Feb. 6th). Not as bitter a pill as last year, but still “pas facile à avaler” either, “hélas.” Boo hoo!!

      Bizzzzzz, M-T

  21. your first paragraph freaked me out because i’m moving to seattle next month haha. maybe i should…change my mind. and i am so desperate to see that movie! i was actually planning on bullying my boy to take me to it today muahaha

    xo Marlen
    Messages on a Napkin

    • Welcome Marlen. Congrats on the move (I think…)

      Three questions I guess:

      1. Where are you moving from?
      2. What section of Seattle are you moving to?
      3. Do you mind moss growing on everything in the winter, including your body?


  22. Oh my goodness! I’ve always thought he was sexy since Alias but listening to him in French just increased his stock price in my book! :). So glad I read your review because I’m watching this movie tomorrow!

  23. Sexy guy! I wonder what is more important… That he speaks French fluently or that he loves dogs. You and I know that point #2 is a major point.
    Great guy! Oh well… Yes, we all know how a romantic movie ends… predictable BUT we all love it, don’t we?
    Remember, dear Véronique, that you are welcome in Florida whenever you get tired of the grey sky. Here it’s blue all year round. Boring :-)))
    Sending you much sun as usual. I will make sure that this time the US Po delivers!
    Anne Touraine (Playing with Scarves)

  24. My daughter told me that she really liked the acting in that film. I personally like the actor who plays the main character. I enjoyed watching Kitchen Confidential – haven’t laughed so hard in a long time.

  25. Wow that was a post chock-full-o-good-stuff. This brightens up the Seattle-like weather we are having in France now. (So you’re not missing anything in that respect.) My wife and I almost retired to Seattle (we had not been there in January), but ultimately decided if we’re gonna be that far from friends and family on the East Coast we may as well move to France. Couldn’t be happier with that choice.

    OK that was a little off topic, but this is my first visit to your blog. And since you’re a movie fan, I’ll just say “I’ll be back”.

  26. I’ve seen this video!!! So sexy listening to that man speak French, like OHMAHGAH so sexy.

    My new year is looking like a une année merdique aussi. Ugh. It can only get better!!

  27. The film sounds fantastic up until the last 10 minutes. Now if it were FRENCH, the ending would have been quite different! I tend not to be a fan of American movies but your review has me intrigued enough to go and see it. Bisous

  28. Hi Veronique – still catching up with your blog! Bradley is awesome and as you rightly say, mostly because of what a decent guy he is! I had no idea he is fluent in French – he’s got a really decent accent hasn’t he? I’m very impressed. My favourite actor is Ryan Gosling, but Bradley is right up there!

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