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
Pat is an underachieving substitute high school history teacher who has just been released from the Karel Psychiatric Facility after spending an eight month court-ordered stint for nearly beating the history teacher to death when he finds him in the shower with his wife. His doting, eternally optimistic mother brings him home hoping that the worst of his previously undiagnosed bipolar symptoms are under control. But his refusal to take his meds and an unfortunate incident concerning Earnest Hemingway and a window quickly dispels that optimism. Pat is in fact clueless, living inside a self-delusion bubble in which he reunites with the truly unattainable object of his obsession, his wife Nikki. Two more mismatched souls the world has never seen but he is the only one who doesn't realize it. He plods doggedly on in pursuit, oblivious to everything and everyone else around him. His illness has removed the normal barriers that prevent him from expressing the unfiltered truth as he sees it, making for some awkward, cringe-worthy, often humorous exchanges. Pat is hardly ready for the real world.
And he certainly is not ready for Tiffany. Pat's best friend invites him over for a homecoming dinner which turns out to be a blind date with his wife's recently widowed sister, Tiffany. Tiffany suffers from severe depression and her mood swings run the gamut - volatile, bitter, vulnerable, stubborn, sexy, and sweet - all thrown randomly into a mixer and blended at high speed. Everyone is a little afraid of her. Her depression results from her guilt over her husband's death which she attributes to her loss of sexual interest in him. She sleeps with everyone in her office in an attempt to anesthetize herself from her emotional pain. She is dead inside, just breathing air. And into this web steps the unsuspecting Pat.
From the moment they meet sparks and barbs fly indiscriminately between them, much to the horror of their hosts who believe they are witnessing a train wreck in the making. But these two lost and damaged souls immediately connect, kindred spirits seeking respite from the storm. Pat is overwhelmed, unable to come to grips with guilt over the intensity of his attraction to Tiffany and the incident sends him into an uncontrolled manic episode. Tiffany feels the same connection and it jolts her far enough out of her stupor for her to see the possibilities. When Pat turns down her offer to sleep with her the flame sparks higher, her curiosity is piqued, and her pursuit begins in earnest. As she starts to nurture and guide Pat, she develops such a flaming torch for him that it would blister the skin off any ordinary guy. But he is oblivious, content just to follow her around like the lost puppy he is. She grabs the opportunity full throttle, dragging the perplexed, not-quite-ready-for-reality Pat along for the ride.
The cast is simply brilliant. Bradley Cooper is a revelation as the bipolar misfit whose philosophy consists of working hard and staying positive to find the silver lining in everything. He and Jennifer Lawrence have such electrifying chemistry together that you find yourself rooting for them to find a way to be together from the moment they meet. Robert DeNiro comes alive in his Oscar-nominated role as Pat's Eagles-obsessed, superstitious, OCD bookie father. Chris Tucker deserves special mention as Pat's equally optimistic fellow psychiatric inmate and friend Danny ("Black it up Pat!").
But make no doubt about it - this is Jennifer Lawrence's movie. At twenty two she is the real thing. Her performance here is transcendental. Even with the marvelous supporting cast holding the bar so high the movie would not work without her. She is visceral - caustic and vulnerable in the same breath. Her facial expressions hide nothing - she is fearless, willing to expose Tiffany's raw emotional core to everyone around her, warts and all as she juggles staying one step ahead of both Pats obsession as well as her own. The transformational changes that occur are put into motion and propelled forward by her. She bets everything with no guarantee that he is capable of giving her what she so desperately needs, willing to run the risk of diving off the emotional cliff for a chance at the real thing. Her character is the lynchpin of the story. And Jennifer Lawrence is nowhere to be found here. The success of the movie rides on her shoulders and she is brilliantly up to the task. Her talent is embarrassing.
The film is unapologetically romantic but dismissing it as a simple romance is missing the point. It deals with family, friendship, truth, sacrifice, and love as imperfect ideals worth fighting for regardless of your place in the world. It is a brave film. Do yourself a favor, go see it. It is ultimately a joyous affirmation of life's possibilities. And who doesn't need a little of that?
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.
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?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
DVD was playable and seemed in good condition.Read more