Movie Review: Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Update: Jennifer Lawrence won an Oscar for Best Actress for her role in this movie. Congratuations Jennifer!
Thank God for this movie! Once in a while you happen to see a movie that's not formulaic, Silver Linings Playbook is one of them. It's not about pretty, upper middle class people in expensive apartments with quirks and a fascile treatment of a tragedy in their life. It's about two people who have emotional breakdowns who manage to find love while their families try to help them cope and still enjoy the Philadelphia Eagles.
Patrick Solitano was released after six months in a mental institution, with the help of his mother, Dolores. He goes home to his parent's house in a small town where he grew up and lived and where everyone knows him and what he went through. He suffered an emotional breakdown when he discovered his wife was having an affair. Pat wants to go back to normal by reuniting with his wife but as a condition of his release he must have a weekly session with a psychiatrist and respect the restraining order that his wife filed against him. He resents the therapy and thinks that if he can get a message to his wife, everything will be fine. His Mom and Dad must cope with his rages and try to protect him from a police officer who will bring him back to the institution if he is deemed unfit for release. He meets Tiffany, his best friend's wife's sister who also had an emotional breakdown when her husband died. With similar experiences in common, an uncommon friendship starts. Tiffany is attracted to Pat but Pat still wants to get back with his wife. Tiffany offers Pat a quid pro quo, she will deliver a letter to his wife if he commits to be her dance partner for a competition. Meanwhile, Pat's father, Pat Sr. a Philadelphia Eagles fanatic, bets his life savings on a football bet as a sign of faith that his son is doing well and wants him to be at the game. Pat is split between his commitment to dance practice with Tiffany and being at the game. As the movie unfolds you are caught up in the family dynamic of guilt, love, and football.
The movie has an amazing cast of talents; the four leading actors Bradley Cooper as Pat, Jennifer Lawrence as Tiffany, Robert deNiro as Pat Sr., Jackie Weaver as Dolores draw you into the familial dysfunction. Cooper makes Pat a frustrating character to like but elicits sympathy as you see the character visibly wrestle with emotions that threaten to overwhelm while yearning for normalcy. You ache for de Niro's Pat Sr. as he is overcome with guilt at his inability to help his son and so desperately wants to show him that he has faith in his recovery. Weaver's Dolores as the hopeful but hapless mother in the face of loved ones' rages make you want to give her a hug. Chris Tucker's character, Danny and John Ortiz's character, Ronnie give the movie much needed comic relief in a movie that could so easily have been heavy handed but is not. Lawrence continues to give a wonderfully nuanced performance, her Tiffany is wounded but a survivor and determined to find love.
The movie first came out November 16th and didn't open with big fanfare but is still in the movie theaters and it's worth seeing.
Time: 122 minutes
I thought it would be great to include Jennifer Lawrence's acceptance speech at the 2012 Oscars and also her interview with the media after the acceptance speech. She seems very endearing and down-to-earth.
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