RATED-(R)-122 MINUTES-2012


Silver Linings Playbook is a movie that deserves multiple viewings to really appreciate how rich a film it is. I found myself watching it the first time, trying to catch up to the pace and beat of David O.Russell’s wandering camera style and the rapid fire delivery of the characters lines; but it is well worth the work, as this was the best film that I saw last year.

Pat (Bradley Cooper), is a broken man who just until recently discovered that he suffers from bipolar disorder after spending time in a mental institution.Now having just been released, he has moved back into his parents house (Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver),for the time being.De Niro is a fanatical Philadelphia Eagle’s fan who takes his superstitions very seriously. His mom loves her son and wants him to get better. You see that Pat  who is married, discovered his wife cheating on him with a fellow teacher at the school they work at, and proceeded to beat the man to an inch of his life in the shower where he found them. Now,with a restraining order against him, Pat is trying to begin his life again and win his wife back by proving that he is a better man now since leaving the hospital.

Enter the wonderful and totally natural actress (Jennifer Lawrence), playing Tiffany the sister of his friend Ronnie’s (John Ortiz), overbearing wife Veronica (Julia Stiles).Tiffany has her own set of issues  having just recently been widowed and then fired from her job for sleeping with multiple co-workers. This sets up a great meet scene when Ronnie and Veronica have Pat and Tiffany over for dinner and they talk about different meds that they have been on. This is a scene like many in the film, where two people who have a hard time censoring themselves or holding back, crash together and Cooper and Lawrence are wonderful in all these moments. They have a great onscreen chemistry and you truly will root for these two broken toys to be fixed and get together, no matter how hard life and their characters fight it.

O.Russell’s film, which he wrote the screenplay for from a book by Matthew Quick, has that hard messy edge with dialogue that has many characters talking over one and other and truly at times it is poetry to watch and listen. His camera moves around it subjects and zooms in, but it never distracts. He doesn’t make it easy as it isn’t In real life, particularly a late night incident with his parents that starts to go very wrong quickly, as emotions and history are heightened and things can get physical when it comes to the raw nerve of family. The love is there, but so is the frustration. O.Russell also tones it down sometimes for some quiet heartfelt moments.A scene where De Niro, who is excellent, speaks to his son the best way he can as a father about his regrets In how he handled him,with a disability he didn’t understand, is handled very well. He may even have a bit of it himself as he is barred from Eagles games for fighting. O’Russell’s use of music is also a huge plus. A moment between Cooper and Lawrence sitting and listening to (Girl from the North Country), sung by Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash as the camera rotates around them closely as they begin their dancing rehearsal, is another of many great moments in this film....a great montage.
I have to give praise where praise is due to Bradley Cooper, who gives a very balls to the wall performance here and does a fine job. Pat is a time bomb waiting to go off and Cooper conveys how much he struggles with his disability very convincingly. It never seems forced. Jennifer Lawrence is one of the most natural and real actresses out there today and she is someone that we will love to see for years to come. She is a joy to watch. I have to also say that I thoroughly enjoyed (Chris Tucker) as Pat’s fellow mental patient Danny. He is a nice addition as a friend who is helping him think positive.
Did I mention that this movie is very funny also? It is. 

God is it great to see a movie this well written and acted, that has depth and emotional weight, about a very serious subject, told with such honesty, humor, and ultimately…hope. Movies like this restore your faith in Hollywood.

Watch the trailer: