28 January 2014 10:30 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

What a difference a year makes. 2012’s best picture nominees tended to look on the salvageable side of life. “Les Miserables,” “Lincoln,” “Life of Pi,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and certainly winner “Argo” all suggested there exists a “Silver Linings Playbook” that can make even the worst problems right.

But if reassurance was 2012’s watchword, disturbance was in the air in 2013. The year’s contenders all set their sights on sources of contemporary anxiety, defying us to close our eyes to big issues or engage in the happy fiction of easy answers.

It’s as if Hollywood’s collective unconscious somehow decided to comprehensively examine current pain points in order to follow Carl Jung’s prescription: “Find the psychic wound, and you can find the path to healing.”

Identifying historical wounds is the business of “12 Years a Slave,” which took heat for its brutal recreation of plantation punishments. Yet »


- Bob Verini

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