Saturday, November 24, 2012

Silver Linings Playbook: Movie Review


Showing us the silver linings of life with funny, entertaining and inspirational results.
Pat (Bradley Cooper) has just been signed out of the Karel Psychiatric Facility by his mother in Baltimore, Maryland after an 8-month court-ordered stint from bipolar disorder with mood swings. But it’s okay, he’s good now (at least he insists that he is). He has a plan for his life — his “Silver Linings Playbook”. He thinks he just has to get in shape, read Nikki’s entire high school syllabus, get his job back, and then he’ll get back together with his ex-wife. 2012

Directed by: David O. Russell

Screenplay by: David O. Russell
Based on the novel by Matthew Quick

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Jennifer Lawrence and Jacki Weaver

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK,
an Alliance Films release.
It’s painfully obvious to the rest of us, and everybody else in Pat’s life, that it’s not going to work out like that. Life can not be planned out like a football play. And that’s exactly where the film shines. It doesn’t aim to provide any life lessons. It just shows the various detours that Pat has to take with hilarious results, and then uses the comedy to provide inspiration. But also with each obstacle and each extra pass or running play that Pat has to make, he realizes how far he is away from his original goal, but he knows to readjust and come up with a new goal. We’re laughing with Pat and not at him. Which is why this film is hardly even recognizable as a mental illness comedy.

Jennifer Lawrence as "Tiffany" in SILVER LININGS
PLAYBOOK, an Alliance Films release.
Ultimately though, “Silver Linings Playbook” is a romantic comedy; that’s why it’s so simply entertaining but also relatable. When Pat is at a dinner party with old friends of him and Nikki, he is introduced to Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence). Tiffany is a dancer whose life is in just as much disarray as Pat’s, but worse. She only has plans for the immediate future not the long-term future. She’s in a more negative head-space having to deal with the death of her husband and the loss of her job. Somehow her presence makes the film even livelier. She has a way with words and she also has one of the sexiest bodies in Hollywood.

The worst case of mental illness belongs to Pat’s father, Pat Solatano, Sr. (Robert De Niro), who is obsessive compulsive to an unhealthy, but also hilarious, level. He’s obsessed with the Philadelphia Eagles, arranging napkins, envelopes and remote controls just so, and betting everything he can on their success. The Solatano household is a stopping ground on game days. Pat is supposed to be a good luck charm, Pat’s friend Danny (Chris Tucker) from the psychiatric hospital occasionally serves as a good luck charm whenever he breaks out, but when the whole gang (including friends, family and a therapist) ventures out to the stadium for an Eagles game, they’re going to need all the luck they can get.

Bradley Cooper as "Pat" in SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK,
an Alliance Films release.
Pat Sr. is worried about Pat with Tiffany. She’s crazy. And she’s a bad influence, or so he says. Tiffany has convinced Pat to train with her for a dance competition but when he misses practice for the game, she’s mad. In the most brilliant scene of the movie, Tiffany shows up at the Solatano house after an Eagles loss. Pat Sr (remember he’s played by the legendary Robert De Niro) rips into her with Eagles’ stats and emotion. Jennifer Lawrence as Tiffany holds her own just fine. Everybody is left looking on in wonderment.

In the final, and second most brilliant scene of the movie, Tiffany and Pat dance to very funny but also extremely suspenseful results. “Silver Linings Playbook” allows us to find the funny, entertaining and romantic silver linings of life.