In an Oscar season full of dramas, tragedies and the occasional blood bath, director David O. Russell’s,”Silver Linings Playbook,” lives up to its name.
Based on the novel of the same name by Matthew Quick, “Silver Linings Playbook,” is a romantic comedy with a bit of an edge.
Pat Solitano Jr. (Bradley Cooper) has recently moved back in with his parents. It’s a court-mandated decision, after he attacked the man who was having an affair with his wife.
Solitano suffers from bipolar disorder, although he’s still struggling with his diagnosis.
Convinced that he can and wants to win back his wife, Nikki (Brea Bee), he sets out to improve himself in hopes that it will show her he’s changed.
Certain family members do not make his path to self-improvement any easier. Pat Jr.’s father, Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro), has his own slew of neurosis and undiagnosed disorders, which are mostly masked as football superstitions.
The two butt heads quite often, leaving the poor Mrs. Solitano (Jacki Weaver) to play referee between her son and husband, which she does quite well.
When Pat Jr. first meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), he sees her as a go-between for him and Nikki. However, Tiffany, who has her own baggage, gives it right back to Pat, offering to act as his messenger in return for a favor—he has to dance.
The two enter a dance competition, and from there you can probably guess how it goes.
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence as the central couple balance each other out nicely. Despite their characters eccentricities, neither ever crosses over into the land of obnoxious. They’re subtle, believable performances. Although, to be completely honest Lawrence steals the show when she silences Robert De Niro’s Pat Sr. in a shouting match.
Speaking of whom, in recent years, Robert De Niro, has become America’s scary father-in-law. He reprises this role, but with a little more vulnerability. He seems to realize that part of his sons illness and struggles might be inherited. Of course, all the credit for his performance could also go to Jacki Weaver who manages to quietly stand out as the heart of the Solitano household.
Despite its serious subject matter, the film never gets too heavy. These quirks, flaws, disorders, or whatever you want to call them, are just a part of life, not all of it.
It’s not an art house flick that takes itself too seriously, and even surprises you in the end. It’s sweet, thought-provoking, heart-warming and guys, there’s even some football.
…just for fun: