Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper successfully complete a hat trick of collaborations in this Depression-era Drama.
Oscar winning Actress Jennifer Lawrence is well on her way to becoming America’s sweetheart of the 21st century. Her humorous down to earth attitude off screen is paired with her tenacious acting ability on screen that has earned her six nominations and three wins in the Academy Awards and Golden Globes since 2011. Her Serena co-star, Bradley Cooper, who she has worked with previously on Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell) and American Hustle (David O. Russell), has had a similar success story. Since his work in The Hangover (Todd Phillips) in 2009 he also received nominations for Silver Linings Playbook & America Hustle, has joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Guardians of the Galaxy (James Gunn) earlier this year and has collaborated with director Clint Eastwood on America Sniper set for release early 2015. Surely the accomplishment’s these two have shared over the last half decade would make their latest reunion a surefire hit?
Serena, directed by Academy Award winner Susanne Bier, tells the story of George Pemberton (Bradley Cooper), a successful timber company owner who falls in love with the beautiful Serena (Jennifer Lawrence) who also has a dark past in the same line of work. The films doesn’t dwell on the formation of their relationship, after they meet the film quickly fast-forwards through their marriage and eventual return to Pemberton’s empire in North Carolina. Serena’s introduction has mixed results with Pemberton’s associates. His right hand man Buchanan (David Dencik) takes an instant dislike to Serena, whereas ex-con Galloway (Rhys Ifans) feels spiritually bound to see to Serena’s ever need after she saves his life. The heart of the film rides on not just the trials and tribulations of Serena’s relationship with George, but also the ramifications Pemberton’s illegal dealings have on his acquaintances. Without giving too much away, trail deceit, lies and murder all play a part in the conclusion of this 1920’s drama.
However, all things considered, I don’t think Susanne Bier, Bradley Cooper or even Jennifer Lawrence will be getting the Oscar nod for Serena this year. By now it’s crystal clear Lawrence and Cooper can successfully work together in any setting weather it’s present day with Silver Lining’s Playbook, the 70’s with American Hustle or a century past with Serena. The previous two collaborations however had 5 time Oscar nominated writer/director David O. Russell on board, and Serena’s story seems to lack the remarkable narrative which made their previous partnerships so successful. Overall the film is a perfect case study into the acting prowess of both Lawrence and Cooper but unfortunately unsympathetic characters and an average story brings the film down to a mediocre level.
Director: Susanne Bier
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Rhys Ifans
Running Time: 109 minutes
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