I love a wide range of films. You can find me watching action & adventure, horror, Scifi/Fantasy, but sometimes it is good to watch an honest, down-to-earth human drama. That is exactly what you get with David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook“. The story follows Pat (Bradley Cooper) who is making his exit from a mental institution. He moves back in with his parents and is dealing with the separation from his wife who cheated on him with a co-worker. He refuses to accept the fact that she is gone when he gets home. She has a restraining order against him, which is working against him psychologically. He is ordered to go to therapy, and to take his medications, which is also a struggle for him. He is set on the fact that things are going to work out with his wife.
Pat goes to dinner at a friends house. Him and his wife know Pat’s wife, and through this association, Pat sees a possibility of getting a hold of his wife. Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) is present at the dinner as well. She is dealing with the death of her husband, and is trying to move forward. Through the commonality of tough times, Pat and Tiffany start to bond. Slowly, but surely they begin to open up to one another. What ensues is both of them breaking down and essentially rebuilding one another to be able to deal with their past, and look forward to their future.
I would not pick out Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence to co-star in a film together. It is not an obvious match. But watching this film, I can’t imagine any other two actors doing a better job together. This is a breakout role for each of them. They give such a raw performance, it is hard to not appreciate it when the film is finished. I loved Russell’s film “The Fighter” which was another really intense, emotional film.
I love the statement that this film makes, that we are all crazy, we all have a past, and we all have to move forward from that. To see Bradley Cooper in a role like this is great. I enjoy seeing actors get out of their comfort zone, and show us what they can do. He really portrayed that crazy mindset of someone who has essentially lost everything. He is forced to take a long look at himself, and question what he really wants. Tiffany really pushes him hard to do this. But what ends up happening is they both realize what a slave they are to their past, and the way they have been limiting themselves. They both wear wedding rings which is a visual representation of not being able to (or not allowing themselves to) move on.
This film boasts a great supporting cast. Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver are wonderful as Pat’s parents. It is a very important aspect of the film to view the parent-child relationship, and the way they process what their son is going through. De Niro’s character is a bit of a crazy himself. He is very OCD, and overbearing, but through this process that his son is going through, I feel like he sees where some of his own faults exist as well.
I am not a big fan of the “Rom Com” genre, but this film breaks the walls down of those cliche, make you feel all warm and fuzzy type of romantic movies. I felt the same way when I saw “500 Days of Summer“. It is films like this that breathe life into a genre, although it cheapens this film to call it a Romantic Comedy. So, we’ll just call it a really great film, which it is. This film well deserves its nomination as Best Picture.
– David B. Harrington
Click here to view the “Silver Linings Playbook” trailer!