Silver Linings Playbook Review by Dan the Man

Finding the Silver Lining

                All I honestly knew about this movie before going into it was a quick glance at the poster board I caught while rushing into another movie. Usually I like to fully scope out the poster; who’s in it, who’s directing, writing, etc. I did not do that here, and put together an assumption that it was some sort of sports related rom-com. If someone asked me the types of movies I enjoyed, my response would not include “sports related rom-com.” My prediction of the movie was not too far off… however, I found myself pleasantly surprised.

Based on the novel of the same name by Matthew Quick, Silver Linings Playbook is a film about the hardships of life and family, and finding yourself in the turmoil. The story focuses on Pat (Bradley Cooper), a high school history substitute teacher who is returning home to his parents’ house after a stint in a psychiatric hospital. I do not want to divulge too much, as this story lets itself unfold piece by piece. The warmth of the story is built around Pat’s newfound friend Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence). Both of them are trying to recover from a breakdown and through this connection is the start of their bond.

Written for the screen and directed by David O. Russell, the movie stars Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Jacki Weaver. I would have more strongly anticipated the film if I had known Russell was directing, and it was a surprise I did not find out until the end. The first time I saw Bradley Cooper was in the hilariously incredible David Wain comedy Wet Hot American Summer – in which he was excellent, then the lack-luster Wedding Crashers – where he was one of the best parts, but I have grown less fond of him with everything since. I did, however, find myself enjoying him here. Still unfamiliar with Jennifer Lawrence, her performance made me a little more curious to see the Battle Royale wannabe Hunger Games. The parents of Bradley Cooper’s Pat were played very well by Jacki Weaver and a refreshing performance by Robert De Niro – who has not played a character I enjoyed watching this much in a while.

David O. Russell has a way of getting you attached to quirky characters. In Silver Linings… there is a fair share of psychosis that you want to work through with the characters. He also tends to use his camera as a sort of narrator, giving a unique view to each of his movies, adding a visual appeal to fit each different story. This technique is used here to add to the delirium of the characters. Chris Tucker has a small, humorous role as Pat’s mental patient friend Danny, and watch for the cinema marquee on Halloween night reading Midnight Meat Train (the Clive Barker story also starring Bradley Cooper).

It was not my favorite Russell film yet (I <3 Huckabees or The Fighter), and will not get as much recognition as The Fighter, but I went in unenthusiastic and ended up… seeing a silver lining.

Dan Glennon

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