‘Silver Linings Playbook’ Movie Review – Crazy Meets Cute
Director David O. Russell latest movie Silver Linings Playbook is a bit of a shift from his previous movie The Fighter in that we don’t get some big fight sequences and characters on a destruction path. In fact, Silver Linings Playbook is closer in feel to the director’s previous films, Three Kings and I Heart Huckabees, probably because all these have been penned by Russell himself, but it is also a movie that can stand separate from any of his other films.
In Silver Linings Playbook, Pat (Bradley Cooper) gets released from the mental institution he spent some time in and goes to live with his parents (played by Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver) as he tries to prove to his ex-wife that his time “in” changed him so that she takes him back. However, his encounter with eccentric Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) who is dealing with problems of her own, will impact his life more than he expected.
Within a few minutes of the film starting, I was encompassed in this new world and the family that lives in it. Given the subject matter, the film could have easily fallen into the dramatic side of things, but instead it captures the comical aspect of the situation and its characters without becoming a comedy. It’s just life for these people and some of the situations they get into or things they say happen to be very funny. As I mentioned this is not a comedy, but it’s definitely a dramedy.
I have seen Bradley Cooper in a lot of movies, hell I was watching him on Alias way back when, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen him take on a character quite like this one. Pat has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and Cooper portrays his manic episodes so well, but more than that, there is something a bit off about Pat that still makes his very likeable yet a bit mad and Cooper managers to portray that dichotomy perfectly.
But Cooper is only part of the equation that makes the movie work, if you were to pair up Pat with someone, they would have to be pretty messed in their own way and that’s where Jennifer Lawrence’s Tiffany enters the scene. Still mourning the death of her husband, Tiffany has found refuge in being pretty bold and sleeping around with people at her office.
This unlikely pair works so well together on screen they make the movie compelling to watch. While the story does have a few cliches here and there, they can be easily overlooked by the joy of watching Pat and Tiffany interact on screen.
Lawrence similar to Cooper gives her character the right balance of unlikeable/likeableness with a hint of crazy. There are these brilliant running scenes that are the highlight of the movie, so simple yet so telling on who these people are.
And let’s not forget the rest of the cast including Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver. Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher, John Ortiz, Shea Whigham, Julia Stiles and Dash Mihok who make the movie whole. Each of their characters play such a key and specific role in the story that it wouldn’t be the same without them.
As I mentioned, the story itself doesn’t go anywhere you couldn’t predict but that’s ok, in fact I would have been quite sad had it not gone that way. The reason the movie works is because of its characters, they are the atypical ones and makes it so compelling to watch.
I would definitely recommend Silver Linings Playbook if you’re in the movie for unconventional romance, comedy and drama.
Silver Linings Playbook is now in limited theaters and will continue to expand in more theaters in the upcoming weeks.
Follow me on Twitter @sosandrine