I Saw A Film Today… Silver Linings Playbook

slrIf you haven’t noticed, I have a love of original movie poster art and try to use the works of talented people as often as I can. I just want to showcase great art from great artist. Through this search I’ve come to know so pretty amazing artist. But occasionally there just isn’t anything available at the time of a review for an alternative. Or my search has turned up nothing. Either way, I feel slightly defeated when this occurs. And such was the case with Silver Linings Playbook, which is deserving of some great art frankly. You art peeps need to get on that. I’m joking. Not really.

Pat (Bradley Cooper) recently has been released into the care of his parents (Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver) from a mental heath facility eight months after he was arrested for nearly beating the man who was having an affair with his wife to death. Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Pat is trying to get in shape and reading books to convince his adulterous wife that they need to get back together.

By chance, while at a friend house for dinner, Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), who recently lost her husband in an accident. The two form an instant but unusual bond with each other. She promises to help Pat deliver a letter to his wife if he helps her in a dance competition. Things get serious though when Pat’s dad places a bet on how well the two place in the competition.

Silver Linings is an exercise in how to make a proper Romantic Comedy. You don’t need the cute little “ah, I accidentally saw you coming out of the shower” hijinks, a romantic embrace in a dusky wheat field, or Nicolas Sparks’ name plastered on a recycled poster to make a winning Rom-Com. No, honest notions of emotions and love, great actors, and maybe in the case of this film a dash of crazy is how you make a winner.

Not to say SLR doesn’t fall victim to some of the stereotypes and pitfalls of the genre. The one issues that really stood out in David O. Russell’s latest film is just how neatly it all wraps up. For a film riddled with so much pain, craziness, and yes humor, the question comes to this: Does Pat deserve the silver lining he worked so hard for? He certainly makes a transformation, and for the better as well.  But for a story of such caliber, should the mythos of a silver linings be fully realized?

Jennifer Lawrence isn’t the young woman who most people who recognize her as “the girl from Hunger Games” here. She retains her edge but sheds any innocence from that film as the widow who uses sex as a coping mechanism. She is unpredictable, and we fully feel the confusion that Bradley Cooper’s Pat endures the entire film. The two participate in a cat-and-mouse game of their own devising, a game where motives are heavily veiled but rehabilitation is abundant. Both deserve the nominations and accolades they’ve received this award season. Both have their standout scenes. Lawrence when she confronts Cooper in a crowded street, raw and unadulterated. Cooper when maniacally searching for his wedding tape, waking up the entire neighborhood to the narration of Led Zeppelin’s “What is and What Should Never Be”.

This goes for the great Robert De Niro as well. This is one of his finest performances in years as an undiagnosed OCD father with a love for the Philadelphia Eagles. The scenes between him and Cooper are heartbreaking, and over the course of  the film you begin to understand where both come from and why they’re the way they are. The rest of the supporting cast shines as well. Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, and Anupam Kher all are pure magic.

Silver Linings Playbook is truly one of the best films of the year and sets the standards for what the Rom-Com genre should be. David O. Russell threw a touchdown with this one.

Verdict: See it!

* Rated R for language and some sexuality/nudity. 122 minutes.

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One Response to “I Saw A Film Today… Silver Linings Playbook”

  1. Great review. I like your thoughts on Silver Linings Playbook, which I bacame a big fan of. It was an amazing movie thanks to the actors. Most of all Jennifer Lawrence – she really deserves the SAG award she won.

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