After “Silver Linings Playbook” success, you only expect the best with the third collaboration between Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. I was quite impressed with her performance in “American Hustle” from David O.Russell, but with this film, Jennifer Lawrence shows a bit more of her talent in the drama genre.
Although everything was for the best on paper, you are left dissatisfied. Actually, Serena looks like something was left undone or “déjà vu”.
Why such a conclusion? I realize starting from the trailer to the whole movie, that even though it wase supposedly with & for actors, it actually looked like more a trap of the genre for them. When the movie uses A-list actors to exist, they, on the other hand, have to try to get over the directing choices.
Even though Cooper-Lawrence duo works, I sympathized for the actors, watching them struggling with a too suitable shooting and an awkward editing.
Bradley Cooper in a post Black Thursday entrepreneur and Jennifer Lawrence a fierce and driven wounded woman, play a symbiotic couple at the head of a fortune in North Carolina. From the meeting to the ending, the course of events is incredibly flat and expected. By the way, I have to mention this very bad sequence at the beginning of the film, when the young people meet it’s so bland that it’s embarrassing: you switch from 2 smiles to the young couple intimacy without any transition, inspiration or emotion. Almost with bad taste.
It was like it is entirely up to the actors to show emotions and plausibility to the story when the editing is doing the exact opposite. Worse, I had the feeling that in this sequence, the editing botched the actors’ talent.
Nonetheless, the director looks for a certain estheticism but without any relief. The only relief you will see is in the air views of the mountains where the trees of this bewitching forest mix up with oppressive clouds.
Hard to compare with the stunning “Cold Mountain” from Anthony Minghella, the directing quickly becomes an insensitive mechanism that fails to make you feel any emotion & falls into a boring classicism.
Again, the actors are not to blame, since this classicism is not for the good of the very dark performance Jennifer Lawrence is showing us. Between a dramatic past and a troubled married life, Serena is apparently a strong woman when she is very tormented. However, with a music a little bit soppy and repetitive close shots, you don’t have a chance to feel intensity, originality or memorable moment.
Serena becomes a pretty picture album with stunning actors in costume.
So quite disappointed, but most of all annoyed for the actors to whom this movie undervalues their talent, trapped into a production without relief.
Probably, it should have been left into Darren Aronofsky hands, originally top candidate for the project.