Ben's Review of Silver Linings Playbook
Silver Linings Playbook(2012)
The uniqueness and singularity that derives from "Silver Linings Playbook" doesn't necessarily come from the stories premise. Many of the film's basic components contain several conventional qualities that aren't necessarily original. However, David O. Russell's slick direction and his ability to take command over a large cast that has made him so well-regarded in today's age propels this film from linearity to a novelty. The performances from Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro and especially Jennifer Lawrence allow the audience to feel immersed within the human qualities of Matthew Quick's script. In this sense, the movie transforms from a straightforward picture to a deep-rooted narrative of the human condition; love, friendship and all.
Bradley Cooper plays Pat Solatano, a mentally troubled man who loses his wife, job, and friends because of his bipolar behavior. When he is finally released from a psychiatric hospital, he comes home only to realize that most of his behavioral tendencies haven't just not gone away, but are more prevalent than they've ever been. His number one goal is to prove to his ex-wife, who cheated on him, that he has the potential to win her love back. His parents, played by Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver, attempt to give him some kind of solace in the situation by trying to make him forget about his ex-wife and move on with his life. Pat doesn't seem to want to rid himself of his wife's memory and will do anything he can to even be able to speak with her, which is prevented through a restraining order. Through the process of meeting up with old friends, Pat meets his best friend's sister-in-law Tiffany, played by Jennifer Lawrence. Tiffany is a recent widow whose husband died in the line of duty as a police officer. Many of her characteristics resemble that of Pat, but what makes her truly different is her resilience to social alienation. Tiffany doesn't care what society thinks of her, and this is one of Pat's faults. Over time, they form a friendship that starts from a simple deal, and transforms into a true bond.
The performances in the film are truly top notch. Russell truly has the ability to take control of his audience. In this movie, the acting and directing go hand-in-hand, playing off of each other in very distinct and unique ways. Russell's technique is similar to that which he used in "The Fighter"; by packing several actors into one single space and making them play off of each-other like they would do in a theater setting. This creates a claustrophobic but effective atmosphere which brings out the best in each actors abilities. Because of this tactic, Bradley Cooper is able to give the best performance of his career to date. His abilities are truly conveyed in the best and most professional fashion. Lawrence is just as good as always, displaying her versatile skills and her ability to be whatever she needs to be to make the film a success. Whats truly interesting is that the most surprising performance comes from Robert DeNiro, who is considered one of the best actors of all time. In recent years, DeNiro hasn't given the best performances in films that aren't considered to be in the highest of quality. In most refreshing fashion, DeNiro gloriously returns to his top-notch acting that has made him so famous, in a film that gives him the ability to thrive and shine. He was absolutely fantastic in this movie, bringing tears to my eyes and giving the film a realistic edge that sticks with you throughout the picture's duration.
David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook" is one of the biggest surprises of 2012. From the trailers that came out early on in its advertising stages the movie seemed to be a run-of-the-mill dramedy. However, this seems to be a prevalent notion in Russell's pictures. This is the second time that I have personally been fooled by the early trailers for his films. When "The Fighter" was first advertised, I had no confidence in the film's abilities. However, I was quickly proven wrong through Russell's perfect direction and the movie's wonderful performances. Its Deja Vu all over again. "Silver Linings Playbook" on paper may seem predictable, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. The masterful performances from Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro give the film potency and confidence, and through this, David O. Russell proves me wrong for the second time. The biggest quality that the movie has to offer is its individualism; brought on by perfect direction, and a determination to stay as true and human as possible, something that I finally know Russell can do without effort.