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Silver Linings Playbook– Movie Review

Submitted by on November 26, 2012 – 10:00 pm6 Comments

Silver Linings Playbook follows a mentally ill man as he returns home after eight months in a treatment facility to his working class Philadelphia suburb to live with his bookie parents and pursue his delusion that his wife will return to him. Did I mention it’s a romantic comedy?

While mental disease and Eagles football might only seem romantic in certain sections of Upper Darby, director David O. Russell and a stellar cast mine the material for a truly touching love story that blurs the line between crazy and sane, and shows that even deeply damaged people deserve to be with the right person.

Pat Solitano Jr. (Bradley Cooper) lost everything after undiagnosed bipolar disorder sent his marriage and job spiraling, and he almost beat his wife’s lover to death after discovering them. He pleads out to time in a mental treatment facility, and returns home relentlessly optimistic about winning back his wife, insisting that things like weeks of silence and a restraining order are normal for couples. But when Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a depressed young widow, he begins to face obstacles that were not part of his plan for a happy ending.

Cooper is fantastic as Pat. Pat’s illness is not sugar coated (much); he is at times violent, obsessive, willfully ignorant, and just plain irritating. But Pat’s optimism is so infectious, and he struggles so earnestly with every new roadblock in his path, that I was rooting for him pretty much from the beginning.

The movie is a crazy mess plot-wise, so if Cooper’s central performance doesn’t hook you, I can understand how you might not enjoy it as much.

Russell shows a restrained hand in Silver Linings, especially compared to some of his earlier work. As if striking a compromise between the trippy landscapes of Three Kings and the stark unobtrusive realism of The Fighter, Russell offers just enough shaky camera work and warped soundscapes to make the world seem familiar, but unsettling- much like, I imagine, Pat sees it.

The ensemble cast, including Robert DeNiro, Jacki Weaver, John Ortiz, and Julia Stiles, brings life to a gallery of immediately recognizable friends and family with their own obsessions and problems: gambling, superstitions, materialism, crippling work pressure, and failing marriages. But everyone is painted compassionately.

Did you see Silver Linings Playbook? What did you think?

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