Silver Linings Playbook

1159164_Silver_Linings_Playbook

2012

Directed by David O. Russell – Written by David O. Russell (Screenplay) and Matthew Quick (Novel)

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro

After nearly beating his wife’s lover to death, Pat (Bradley Cooper, Hangover 2009) was sent to a mental health facility to rehabilitate his ailment of bipolar disorder. When it seemed after eight months recovery he showed signs of improvement, his parents took him under their wing and back into their care. On returning home, Pat learns that his wife, Nikki, has moved away and now he is more determined than ever to get his life back on track and reconcile with her, however, she has filed a restraining order concerning the violent episode that sent him away.

Now, this is where things get interesting, director David O. Russell adapted his screenplay from the eponymous novel and as it goes with adaptions, this one is… pretty spot on. He captures the intensity of home life perfectly, incorporating deep and real conversations and adding the subtle comedic element so well that it’s almost too believable.

Cooper delivers an excellent performance, keeping the audience on the edge for what he might do next, as he protests his sanity in each scene he’s in. He finds himself in too many awkward positions and you can empathise for when he’s accused of seeming abnormal when really he’s just a guy that was cheated on by his wife with another school teacher and wears a black sack while he jogs because it helps him sweat… You carry this real understanding of how he feels and only until these bursts of sub-psychotic rage endures, you assume there’s not a lot wrong with him, not really.

Pat is invited to a dinner by his friend Ronnie, where he meets Ronnie’s sister in law, Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence, Hunger Games 2012) – a recent widow who had also lost her job on quite promiscuous accusations. The sparks do not immediately fly when Pat and Tiffany first meet but when dinner abruptly came to a halt as Tiffany blew her fuse, you can see there’s more than meets the eye with her character too. Lawrence portrays the devil may care widow with a feisty attitude very well and looks more beautiful than ever, especially throughout the dance scenes (which may prove a highlight for much of the male audience).

Pat is seemingly forced to help Tiffany into participating in the dance competition and inevitably as the film progresses and their dance improves, so too does their relationship. It perhaps comes across too predictable- even with the more than mild cross overs of personalities in the characters. But when bets are placed in a confusing parle after Pat’s father, Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro, Limitless 2011) – a bookmaker unwittingly raises the stakes on how well they do, you feel for the protagonists and forget the predictable mush and inevitability.

When the hilarious dance earns them enough points to scrape a win as far as the bet is concerned, Pat protests his love that he’d had for Tiffany all along. The film for most ends heart warningly and to be honest in such a typical way for a rom-com I had a lump in my throat for all the wrong reasons. For all the awkwardness and incredible intensity built upon during the film, portrayed by brilliant actors to create sinisterly funny real life situations, it seems a waste as it was so strong in the middle. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the emotional roller coaster of a decent rom-com (which this is) and sure the beauties of the film are the subtle messages and the excellent acting and reliability, but perhaps the film – as well as the book, could have taken an unpredicted twist at the end that reflected the rest of the movie.

Silver Linings (2012) is a perfectly funny film that will twist and stir you in your seat, make you laugh, cry, shout and want to hit somebody all at the same time.

8/10

– Christopher Asher

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