I would like to start off by saying how much I loved both Silver Lining Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty. These were both excellent films with some fantastic acting. The upcoming Academy Awards will feature a very close battle for the best actress Oscar. Jennifer Lawrence (Silver) will go up against Jessica Chastain (ZD30). While both are garnering votes as we speak but based on what I have heard, Jessica holds a small lead as Oscar night approaches. While Jessica Chastain was awesome, I feel that Jennifer Lawrence should be taking home the award. Let me explain why.
In my opinion there is a difference between good and great acting performances; that being expectations. In other words, when I am watching a great acting performance, I ask myself, can I predict what this character will do next. If I can answer yes, then I consider the performance to be very good. If however, the performance literally leaves me guessing what I will see next, then it becomes an amazing performance. Jessica Chastain was very good in this film about the hunt for Bin Laden. She delivers a ‘Carrie from Homeland’ performance. She becomes this direct, aggressive and determined FBI agent who will stop at nothing in her pursuit of the 9/11 mastermind. Her passion and determination come through in her performance. While she is great at conveying her desire, nay need, to catch Bin Laden, I never found myself questioning what I should expect from her. I knew she wanted Bin Laden and knew what she would do to get him. Though she did surprise me with the occasional, “I’m the F*#$%er who found him.”
Jennifer Lawrence on the other hand truly shocked me with her performance. Her bi-polar damaged character is constantly surprising the audience with her funny quips and emotional outbursts. Silver Lining Playbook is a clinic in fine acting and could be shown in acting school. Lawrence plays a truly damaged woman who has never recovered from the death of her husband. She acts out, sleeps around, and doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. But as I pointed out, she keeps me guessing. Her character is confusing in all the best ways, I don’t know when she will be cute and friendly and when she will explode and start yelling at people.
Her performance reminded me of Daniel Day Lewis’ performance in Gangs of New York. In that film, DDL left me guessing. I was never knew if he was going to give a speech about America or chop someone’s head off. Again, these are just the opinions of a fan.