Review: “Silver Linings Playbook” is good as gold

January 4th, 2013 at 8:06 am by under Entertainment

Football… Psychotherapy… Family… and Romance.

That’s the recipe to “Silver Linings Playbook” … this Golden Globe nominated (and soon to be Oscar nominated) movie is full of memorable characters in a story that’s equal parts drama and romantic comedy.

Warning to parents: This movie is rated R for “language and some sexual content/nudity”… and much of the subject matter is not for kids.

“Silver Linings Playbook” poster courtesy The Weinstein Company

(My spoiler-free review)

“You say more inappropriate things than appropriate things” – the line from Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) that pretty well sums up who Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) is… a guy with no filter in social situations… he can’t stop saying things that are wrong.

He is just getting out of 8 months of treatment at a mental institution while she is dealing with a bunch of her own issues… they’re on a collision course that will either lead to a relationship or one of them winding up in jail.

Pat has his family for support… or they may just be making things worse, between his Philadelphia Eagles obsessed dad (Robert DeNiro), his coddling mother (Jacki Weaver), and his do-nothing-wrong brother Jake (Shea Whigham).

This cast also includes a solid Chris Tucker as Pat’s best friend, Anupam Kher as his therapist, John Ortiz as his old friend Ronnie, and Julia Stiles as Ronnie’s wife.

Cooper’s role as the messed up son is easily the best of his career, while Lawrence shows once again (“Winter’s Bone” 2010) why she is no longer an “up and coming” actress.  DeNiro’s role as Pat Sr. is one of his best in years while Weaver and Tucker prove they belong in this cast of powerful performances.  Its no surprise that Cooper, Lawrence, and DeNiro have Golden Globe nominations for their roles.

ALL of these characters are developed and play important roles in helping or challenging Pat’s recovery.  This character depth helps the audience quickly submerse themselves in this family-friend dynamic that surrounds Pat as we start to understand his problems and what’s causing them.

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in “Silver Linings Playbook” photo courtesy The Weinstein Company

To simply call this movie a romantic comedy would be a mistake, because it has so much more depth and meaning… and also adds some understanding for anyone who’s dealt with bi-polar, OCD, or other mental issues – whether its a family member, friend, co-worker, classmate, or themselves.  “Silver Linings Playbook” asks thought provoking questions to the audience while asking its own characters – “can you like all the parts about yourself?”  The movie looks at these issues from the inside out – seeing how other people act towards those who are known to have some mental issues.

Its good to see that the movie did not shy away from the issues here, having two people with similar mental issues works on multiple levels – because Tiffany understands Pat and he knows her problems, she can call him “crazy”… even though in most circumstances its a bad idea to use those words.  They can call each other out on their issues and hangups and also help one another.  They seem to be kindred spirits … but will they end up together?

There are lots of little dots to connect throughout the movie as the likable main characters interact with their community and start to form a bond, but the internal turmoil and external factors threatens a happy ending for this budding romance.

 

THE BOTTOM LINE:

Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, and cast give one of the best ensemble performances of 2012… this is a great story, with great writing, and great production values. … I give it 9.5 out of 10.

MORE INFO (possible spoilers):

Jacki Weaver, Bradley Cooper, and Robert DeNiro in “Silver Linings Playbook” photo courtesy The Weinstein Company

“Silver Linings Playbook”

(2012) (rated: R for language and some sexual content/nudity)
(2 hrs, 2 min)

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher, John Ortiz, Shea Whigham, Julia Stiles

Director: David O. Russell ["The Fighter" (2010), "I Heart Huckabees" (2004), "Three Kings" (1999)]

Writers: David O. Russell (screenplay), Matthew Quick (novel)

Genre: Comedy/Drama/Romance

The Plot: After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.

So what did you think?  Please post a comment!

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Silver Linings Playbook” poster and photo courtesy The Weinstein Company

Laff at the Movies

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One Response to “Review: “Silver Linings Playbook” is good as gold”

  1. Richard says:

    This movies is amazing.

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