The three major fall film festivals — Telluride, Venice, and Toronto — tumble the early Oscar contenders, separating the gold from the pyrite. Three films that premiered over the last month have emerged as undisputed best-picture contenders: “Argo,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” and “The Master.”
“Silver Linings Playbook”: The winner of the Toronto audience award — past victors have included “Slumdog Millionaire,” “American Beauty,” and “The King’s Speech” — is about two misfits who find a second chance through their burgeoning friendship. It doesn’t hurt that the actors playing those characters are the immensely popular Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Based on the popular novel, and directed by “The Fighter”‘s David O’ Russell, the quirky star-driven comedy is the kind of movie that pleases both audiences and critics. “While David O’ Russell‘s foray into conventional drama with ‘The Fighter’ was a richly satisfying knockout, it’s a joy to see him back in the off-kilter comedy realm with the wonderful ‘Silver Linings Playbook.’ Cheerfully yet poignantly exposing the struggles, anxieties, disorders and obsessions of ordinary people, this is a film as odd as it is charming,” wrote “The Hollywood Reporter”‘s David Rooney.