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"Silver Linings Playbook" Film Review

Updated on January 6, 2013
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence | Source

Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook offers potentially Best Actor performances by Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. The movie is hard to characterize either as a family comedy or a serious drama about mental illness and family. The movie begins with Bradley Cooper's character, Pat Solatano, near the end of an 8-month involuntary stay in a mental hospital where he was sent as a result of a violent episode when he surprised his wife with her lover in the shower. Although Pat isn't ready for release, his mother, played by Jackie Weaver, manages to convince the hospital to let him come home to live with her and his father, Pat, Sr., played by Robert DeNiro. Pat Senior, who recently lost his job, is a rabid Philadelphia Eagles fan, a gambler and a bookie. He provides the movie's laughs as an unsuccessful father, bookie and would-be businessman.

Pat settles in with his parents, and decides to pursue a "silver lining," that is, reconciliation with his wife who has obtained a personal protective order against him precluding any contact by him with her in person, by phone, email or letter. His difficult relationship with his father results in several outbursts in the middle of the night which awaken the neighborhood and a visit by the policeman assigned by the court to supervise him. Pat, Sr. and Pat's mother manage to convince the policeman not to send Pat back to the mental hospital. So, Pat is able to continue to pursue his silver linings play book to convince his wife that he has recovered sufficiently to resume their relationship. A daily run around the neighborhood is part of his recovery regimen. While running he meets Tiffany, a beautiful young, recently widowed neighbor girl played by Jennifer Lawrence of Winter's Bone fame two years ago and The Hunger Games in 2011. She was devastated by her husband's death and is nearly as much a mental case as Pat.

Tiffany pursues Pat on his daily runs and later convinces him that she can get his letter to his estranged wife provided he will be her partner in a dance contest she wants to enter. Pat reluctantly agrees and they practice daily in a studio she has constructed in the garage behind her parents' house. From this point the movie builds up to it's conclusion at the television dance contest (Dancing With the Stars?).

The movie was written and directed by David O. Russell. It was based on a novel by Matthew Quick. Bradley Cooper's depiction of his character's bi-polar illness was the most effective that I recall seeing. His mood swings from violent outbursts to euphoria were amazingly convincing (and hard to watch). The scenes involving his father provided welcome humor as did Jennifer Lawrence's performance as Tiffany, a recovering sex addict.

Rating: R


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    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thanks for your comment. I don't disagree with your interpretation.

    • nurseleah profile image

      Leah Wells-Marshburn 

      5 years ago from West Virginia

      This movie immediately became one of my all-time favorite films. I'm all about mental health and illness, and it really demonstrates many symptoms of disorders and the effect on the entire family unit, as well as the effect of the family on the person suffering. There aren't enough movies like this one.

      However, I felt Jennifer Lawrence's character suffered far more than sex addiction. In fact, I don't think she was meant to really portray sex addiction. Maybe I missed the boat, but it seemed to me she was having a reaction to the death of a partner. During the period after his death, she acted out of character by having sex with everyone in her office, but I didn't get the impression that was her baseline behavior. I will have to watch it again and see what I missed (that's just as good an excuse as any to buy it on DVD :)

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 

      5 years ago from North Carolina

      I have wonderful things about this movie. I will have to go see it now. I love Dinero. Great hub!

    • Faith A Mullen profile image

      Faith A Mullen 

      5 years ago

      Great review. I cannot wait to see this one. I love it when light is brought to mental illness in a way that helps people to understand those dealing with it more empathetically.

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      It's a good movie. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence were superb. And of course DeNiro delivered his usual flawless performance. (Not quite as funny as in "Meet the Fockers."

    • Wizard Of Whimsy profile image

      Wizard Of Whimsy 

      5 years ago from The Sapphire City

      I can't think of anyone not liking this film, Ralph—young or old.

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