Review – Silver Linings Playbook
Boasting a host of Oscar Nominations, Silver Linings Playbook (based on the book of the same name by Matthew Quick) is the story of Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper) who is newly released from a state mental institution after serving eight months as part of a plea bargain. He is now determined to rebuild his life and reunite with his wife Nikki, by controlling his anger and remaining positive, despite the challenging circumstances of their separation. Unemployed, Pat is again living with his mother (Jacki Weaver) and father (Robert DeNiro), who do want him to get back on his feet, but his father also wants him to share his obsession with their local team, the Philadelphia Eagles. Football crazy Pat Senior is now bookmaking to make ends meet after losing his job and pension, and in his OCD, sports superstitious mind, his son is good luck for the team. Falling back into life, Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), his best friend’s sister-in-law with problems of her own. Tiffany’s husband died and she is still dealing with the emotional issues. Things for both Pat and Tiffany have only started to get complicated. Tiffany offers to help Pat reconnect with his wife, but only if he’ll do something very important for her in return, team up with her in a dance competition, something her late husband would never do. But by spending his time with Tiffany, he can’t watch the football game with his father, who thinks that will upset the team’s “ju-ju”. As their deal plays out, an unexpected bond begins to form between them, and silver linings appear in both of their lives.
David O. Russell was nominated for Best Director. The film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Editing, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Robert De Niro was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Jacki Weaver was nominated for Best Supporting Actress. Bradley Cooper was nominated for Best Actor, and Jennifer Lawrence won the Oscar for Best Actress. After seeing the film, all I can say is Daniel Day-Lewis must have done a hell of a job as Lincoln, because as excellent as Jennifer Lawrence was in her winning performance, Cooper was definitely equal in his. Though she was only 21 or 22 when the film was shot, Lawrence has no trouble and exhibits excellent chemistry with Cooper who is fifteen years her senior. Tiffany is a very mature role that she handles nicely. Silver Linings Playbook crosses so many genres of film, it can’t help but please, it was a drama and a comedy; it was a romantic comedy and a jagged romance; it was a dance movie and a sports movie; and it played each part almost simultaneously. In a clever way, this could be the greatest sports movie ever that never shows a shot of sports footage…unless you count the dancing.
This film was loaded with talented actors from top to bottom, all bringing an excellent piece to the puzzle. Perhaps overshadowed by De Niro and Weaver were Chris Tucker who last graced the silver screen five years ago in Rush Hour 3 and Anupam Kher who was simply excellent as Pat’s therapist, Dr. Patel, who really helps support Pat, guiding him and helping his entire family understand and deal with Pat’s emotional issues.
When I first saw the commercials for Silver Linings Playbook, I thought “Pffft, another dance movie, skipping that”, but then I saw the trailer and learned that this was not just a dance movie, it was going to be so much more. Silver Linings Playbook makes mental health accessible by presenting the disease from the inside and outside, with amazing accuracy: the mood swings, the detachment from reality, the obsession, and the energy. The ways that Pat’s family supports him, and the ways that Pat tries to help himself are serious, though they can take comical swings at times. It is clear that most of the characters in the film have some sort of mental health disorder to varying degrees, and the film handles them each respectfully. I will admit that a lot of the things that happened in the movie were predictable, but as realistic as it may be in many of its aspects, it is still a work of fiction. It was a nice story with a positive message and a bit of hope, so I certainly don’t mind a happy ending.
Posted on 13-04-30, in 4.5 Star, Movie Reviews and tagged 4.5 star, Academy Award, Bradley Cooper, David O. Russell, Jennifer Lawrence, movie, Oscar, review, Robert De Niro. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.