We tried to see Silver Linings Playbook three or four weeks ago and it was sold out. It was still packed solid tonight. Was that due to Jennifer Lawrence’s Oscar win for Best Actress? I don’t think so. I think this is just a damn good movie and people are coming to see it on the big screen while they still can.
Here’s the preview……
And here’s what the preview doesn’t tell you:
Pat (Bradley Cooper) has recently been released from what is essentially a prison hospital. He has a Bi-Polar disorder that was most recently set off by discovering his wife in the shower with a work colleague.
Desperate to win back his wife’s love, Pat returns home to his rather disjointed family and tries to get back on his feet – reading, working out and trying to find a strategy to cope when one of his ‘moments’ threatens his inner peace.
It’s during this pilgrimage to normality that Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), who’s also pretty screwed up after the premature death of her husband. In short, they’re both messed up and they both have messed up families trying to care for them. Whether they find each other because of, or in spite of their troubled circumstances is a matter for discussion. Find each other they do, however, and it’s a heartwarming story.
Silver Linings Playbook isn’t your typical romantic comedy. It feels kind of silly saying this, but it’s almost as if it’s a guy’s romantic comedy. The film is set in Philadelphia and hovers around Pat’s football-mad family home. It’s a tough town and in comparison with your typical rom-com, this can be a rough, raw and honest film. Pat has a mental illness and whilst the movie doesn’t go into it in-depth, there are moments in the film that you can feel them trying hard to portray the tension within. Sometimes it works (looking for the wedding video) and sometimes it doesn’t (the football game). But kudos to the producers for exploring the theme in what is an unlikely setting.
All of the performances are first class. I didn’t see the other nominees for Best Actress but Lawrence was superb in this movie. She’s tough, sassy, accessible and vulnerable all at once. Cooper really impressed me as well (and it’s fair to say I’m not a big fan of his previous work). Robert De Niro is his usual, excellent self as Pat senior and a special nod goes to Australian Jackie Weaver as Pat’s long-suffering, beautiful mother.
The best line of the movie comes from De Niro, poignant and wonderfully delivered at the peak of the film:
“When life reaches out at a moment like this it’s a sin not to reach back”
Maybe that’s Silver Linings Playbook in a nutshell – fighting to regain your life in an honest way and having life respond to you. Looking for the silver lining and having it emerge, as it usually does, from the unexpected. And finally, doing what can be the hardest part – embracing it.
Silver Linings Playbook has a slightly contrived ending but it’s a heartwarming and fitting conclusion to a story well told. It’s a story that’s serious as well as seriously funny. A story of the good things that can happen unexpectedly when you’re just being yourself. Most of all, it’s a pretty honest portrayal of conflicted characters and families who sometimes get themselves into trouble but support each other all the way though it.
4 out of 5 stars from me.