Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Director: David O. Russell
Writer(s): David O. Russell (screenplay), Matthew Quick (novel)
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jackie Weaver, Chris Tucker, and Shea Whigham
Rated: R (language, brief nudity)
Sites: IMDb/trailer Official movie site
Notes: Official Facebook

Silver Linings Playbook movie review

Once again I’ve come across a movie in 2013 that would have made my top 10 movies of 2012. Silver Linings Playbook is one I’ve heard a lot of buzz about for a while, but didn’t want to buy into the hype. However, this is one of those cases where the attention the film is getting is well deserved.

The film follows Pat (Bradley Cooper) who’s just been released from a mental institution after an episode he had while discovering his wife was cheating on him. He returns home and dedicates himself to getting back with his wife, Nikki, by getting himself in top physical condition, reading all of the books on her teaching syllabus, and showing that he is a matured adult. However, he finds adapting back to real life isn’t quite as easy as he’d hoped.

Pat is introduced to Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a young window who’s also had some history of mental illness of her own. The two at first seem like a bad combination, but as they spend time with each other they may just be good for each other. Pat sees an opportunity to win back Nikki through Tiffany, and Tiffany convinces Pat to help her in a dance competition in return.

On the surface the film might sound like a comedy based around 2 mentally unstable individuals who fall in love with each other, but to assume this would be a huge mistake, not to mention is extremely inaccurate. This film is a true drama about family and coming to terms with life with a little bit of comic relief added throughout (mainly thanks to Robert De Niro and Chris Tucker). The “romance” angle of the story is not the focus, and isn’t as simple as one might think.

The acting in this film has gotten much praise and for good reason. Bradley Cooper has really been impressive lately (it was cool to see a little homage to Midnight Meat Train in this film, a hugely underrated horror film he starred in) and here is superb, not only by putting on an excellent comedic performance, but showing great emotion and behaviors of someone experiencing some mental troubles. His chemistry with Jennifer Lawrence was very unexpectedly great. At first I thought due to their age differences, it wouldn’t be believable, but Jennifer really steals the show and makes us forget that she is only 22 years old.

I could go on about each cast member, as everyone was memorable and provided real depth to their characters. It’s really special when you have a movie where all of the characters are well written, provide their own stories and characteristics. This allows the film to be more effective and memorable. This is my idea of a film done right. It can’t be classified simply under one genre or written off as a story that’s been done over and over. It has unique characters, brought to life by an awesome cast, and a realistic and original story that always keeps things interesting as well as entertaining.