Silver Linings Playbook
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Life doesn't always go according to plan. Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper) has lost everything -- his house, his job, and his wife. He now finds himself living back with his mother (Jacki Weaver) and father (Robert DeNiro) after spending eight months is a state institution on a plea bargain. Pat is determined to rebuild his life, remain positive and reunite with his wife, despite the challenging circumstances of their separation. All Pat's parents want is for him to get back on his feet-and to share their family's obsession with the Philadelphia Eagles football team. When Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a mysterious girl with problems of her own, things get complicated. Tiffany offers to help Pat reconnect with his wife, but only if he'll do something very important for her in return. As their deal plays out, an unexpected bond begins to form between them, and silver linings appear in both of their lives.
In lesser hands than director David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook could have been a typically cringe-inducing throwaway Hollywood rom-com. As it is, this unusual and deeply affecting story of crazy love is a bold observation about the joys and tragedy of life lived by deeply flawed characters facing triumph and adversity against a backdrop of painfully familiar family dysfunction. It's also a tremendous achievement in formal structure, with a flair for storytelling that's as moving as it is delightful. Bradley Cooper plays Pat, an until-recently undiagnosed bipolar person who's just home from a lengthy stay in a mental institution and doing his darnedest to get his head and his life back on track. His concerned parents, vividly embodied by Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver, have plenty of troubles of their own when they warily take him in and tiptoe around the eggshells of a psyche that still veers wildly from seeming self-control to scary bouts of mania. Pat has a plan to win back the unfaithful wife whose restraining order is still in force because of the violent episode that sent him away after he nearly killed her lover. Interjected into this wobbly family scenario is Tiffany, a friend of a friend who is embroiled in her own turmoil of mental instability following the recent death of her husband. Jennifer Lawrence is a charming revelation as Tiffany, flexing sensitive acting muscles that are as toned as her lithe form. She throws herself into the role of a depressed, promiscuous young woman who needs Pat in her life about as much as she needs another personal tornado to rip her apart. But the movie magically reveals that these two disturbed souls have a destiny that's never really in doubt; although the whirlwind turns the movie takes to get them there are often breathtaking. Russell liberally adapted the movie from Matthew Quick's 2008 novel, and he deftly imbues the story with a vibrant sense of place (suburban, blue-collar Philadelphia) and each character, no matter how tangential to Pat and Tiffany's journey, with quirks and nuances that brilliantly reveal their essence. The subject of mental illness has rarely been portrayed with such honesty and candid respect. Constantly keeping us off guard, Silver Linings Playbook soars from darkness to a kind of screwball comedy that is as tender and touching as it is unpredictable. There are several tour-de-force moments that Russell constructs with the surest hand of direction, dialogue, and the talents of his cast. A key scene unfolds in a small living room where eight people are crammed together, each adding important pieces to the whole, and which thrums with a masterfully rhythmic pace. Another sequence follows the buildup to one of Pat's manic outbursts with a dizzying and increasingly stressful manifestation of the madness careening around in his head. It seems hard to believe that a love story with real humor, real pain, and genuine resonance that gets from point A to point B--it begins with a lone figure mumbling to himself and ends with a jubilantly staged ballroom dance--can succeed with so few missteps. But Silver Linings Playbook turns it all into an absorbing reality wherein life stumbles heartwarmingly toward what real love is all about. --Ted Fry
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Top customer reviews
As great as the entire cast was, without Bradley Cooper we wouldn't be reading this right now. He carried the movie in my opinion and I was shocked to see he didn't win any awards for this but Jennifer won an Oscar. She was great but I didn't think was in enough scenes to win as a lead. She doesn't even appear until minute 25. There are a lot of scenes afterwards she isn't in like when he is in therapy, dealing with his parents, talking with friends, football game, etc.
Her best scene for me was when she saw his wife across the room arriving to the dance. The pain in her eyes/face sold me.
I laughed outloud sometimes, mostly the scenes with DeNiro, and I was rooting for all at the end because the movie succeeded in making me care.
Similarly, Pat Jr. and Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) are shocked to find out during their first date that each thinks the other is crazier. As all of the characters become more closely connected, the line blurs further, e.g. as Pat Jr’s seemingly normal friend Ronnie (John Ortiz) describes the symptoms of a panic attack in reaction to the extreme stress in his career and home life. When things start to spiral out of control, funny and often nonsensical attention to “reality” diffuses the situation, e.g. Tiffany confronts Pat Sr’s accusations of bad juju with sports statistics that prove the Philadelphia Eagles win more often when she and Pat Jr. spend time together. Everyone in the room is mesmerized with her impossible logic, even Pat Jr’s psychiatrist!
The ending was at once the least and most realistic part of the movie. What are the odds that Tiffany and Pat Jr. would enter that elite dance competition? Just about zero. How many of us have been thrilled to receive a 5 out of 10 in some area of life that met failure after failure in the making? Just about everyone. The movie offers a refreshing resolution for each character, esp. for Tiffany who seemed destined to be used by yet another person.
Wonderful and funny movie that makes the misfit in all of us feel right at home.
Like I said, totally worth the money...if I could only return the book.
many things have been said about this movie. we liked it because it showed that people can get better in their lives with a little help from professionals. the idea of drugs to help bi polar people has its merits and drawback for some. bradley cooper did a pretty amazing job of portraying the main character. now jennifer lawrence always does a great job and continues in this role as the love interest. she won the academy award for best actress in this role among other top awards for that season. we saw the movie when it first came out on the big screen, but 5 years later on our own big screen, it still is relevant and outstanding. how crazy are those fanatics?