Silver Linings Playbook Reviews
David O. Russell once again delivers a fun, realistic, heartfelt story packed with great performances, loveable characters and wonderfully written dialogue. An uplifting movie not to be missed.
The Silver Linings Playbook is a unique blend of deft pacing, accentuating camerawork, combustible acting, intriguing cast combinations, a stellar screenplay, prudent dialogue, astute direction and the relatable topic of a dysfunctional family in turmoil; that is completely deserves its eight Oscar nods.
Unadvisedly released under plea-bargain from an eight month stint in a Baltimore mental hospital for attacking his wife's lover in their shower, Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper) is surprisingly upbeat, holding on to his mantra of Excelsior like a life raft.
Determined to find the silver lining in battling his bi-polar disorder, depression and anxiety, Pat is willing to jump through as many precarious hoops as required in his quest for emotional stability and to repair the damage he's done by earning back the love of his estranged wife.
His well-meaning mother Dolores (Jacki Weaver) didn't consult his father (Robert De Niro) before picking up their damaged son, and although rooting for him, Pat Sr. is skeptical about his son's optimistic recovery. Persisting with his theory of family togetherness as it coincides with his own mass of neuroses as a failing bookie, his extreme fandom for the Philadelphia Eagles is fueled by outlandish OCD superstitions proving that the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree.
As expected, Pat's recovery derails frequently, until he meets a mysterious girl with similarly complicated problems. A recent widow with excessively low self-esteem, the highly inappropriate Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) buries her issues in sexual encounters (with literally anyone).
Her sexual offer rebuffed by Pat and his unfounded faithfulness his restraining order welding wife, Tiffany agrees to help Pat breach the gap by deliver a letter, but in return he must agree to be her partner in a local dance competition.
Although blackmailed, the more they practice, the better they sidestep their issues. But when Pat Sr. and Tiffany face off for Pat's attention, can a deal that accommodates and benefit all their eccentrics be found or will things spiral completely out of control?
Each character layered with their own complexities, the ensemble cast is terrific. Cooper is marvelous in his most multidimensional role to date. Inspired and convincing, he strikes a measured between twitching social ineptness and edgy impulse control.
Versatile It-girl Lawrence is outstanding. At just 22 she not afraid to step outside convention to achieve acting greatness and as the sex-driven widow going through a spectacular meltdown of her own she is sheer dynamite.
Effortlessly bouncing off of each other's energy, their potent chemistry and sexual tension is something from rom-com lovers to savior. De Niro delivers his best performance in years in a somewhat familiar OCD driven role, whilst Tucker (in his first non-Rush Hour film since 1997) is fantastic for so many reasons.
The Verdict: With disarming ease this movie demands closer inspection. The Silver Linings Playbook is a brave accomplishment for all and an intelligently rich adult-centric comedy experience for audiences.
Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 01/02/2013