"Silver Linings Playbook" Film Review
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.
New York Times--"Silver Linings Playbook" Review by Manohla Dargis
- ‘Silver Linings Playbook,’ Directed by David O. Russell - NYTimes.com
“Silver Linings Playbook,” directed by David O. Russell, finds a man, played by Bradley Cooper, returning home after a stint in a mental institution.