Silver Linings Playbook
November 16, 2012 (LIMITED)
November 21, 2012 (WIDE)
David O. Russell
The Weinstein Company
2 hours 2 minutes
I didn't expect to enjoy 'Silver Linings Playbook' as much as I did. Despite friends of mine praising the crap out of this movie, there was just something holding me back from believing their opinions. The trailers for the film just didn't do a lot for me, and I personally found David O. Russell's last movie 'The Fighter' a little overrated despite Christian Bale's incredible performance. After waiting over a month to see it, my mother and I finally saw this as our first movie of the new year. To much surprise, the theater I was in was packed. It might have been because the author of the book that the film is based on, Matthew Quick, is from an area of New Jersey very close to where I was. It might have also been that the film was shot locally around the city of Philadelphia, PA. After seeing the film, I now know that my theater was packed for something more than just those reasons. My friends were right about their beliefs. The trailers didn't serve the film any justice whatsoever. 'Silver Linings Playbook' is funny, powerful, and extremely relatable. This film is relatable in ways that 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' isn't, but both films equally share a place in my heart and are both my favorite movie of 2012.
After getting out of an eight month stay at a mental institution in Maryland, Pat Solitano comes back to his suburban home in Philadelphia to find out that he's lost everything. His wife has left him, he's been fired from his teaching job, and he no longer has a home. He refuses to take the medicine he's been prescribed, and his therapy sessions don't do much for him either. Pat can't even relate to his dad at all, since his dad is a die-hard fan of the Philadelphia Eagles. One of pat's friends introduces him to a mysterious woman named Tiffany, who might be just as messed up in the head as Pat is. As these two polar opposites get to know each other better, a bond between them becomes strong, and a silver lining appears before their very eyes.
Bradley Cooper hasn't really had his big break yet in terms of solidifying him as a top notch actor. Despite a solid performance in 'Limitless,' Cooper hasn't proven himself in terms of an incredible performance. Even 'The Words' didn't give his acting chops enough justice because he is a good actor in general. With this movie, he proves that he is much more than just a handsome face. This may possibly be the performance that puts his career on the path to award winning success. In fact, I think that Cooper has given one of the most rewarding and most entertaining performances of 2012. Surprisingly enough though, Cooper's co-star Jennifer Lawrence outshines his performance and possibly steals the movie from him.
Jennifer Lawrence is probably most well known for her role as Katiness in 'The Hunger Games.' What some may not know though is that a small 2010 movie called 'Winter's Bone' is what not only put her on the map, but also got her an Oscar nomination for her lead performance in that film. The reason why her performance as Tiffany works here is because she is a crazy character who understands and wants to be with Pat. They have very similar backgrounds, yet both don't get along much unless deals can be made, which they are in an important plot point in the movie. Lawrence is hilarious at times, but she also shows her craziness in some scenes of the movie, including one that takes place outside of a movie theater. If there's one actor in this movie who steals the show, it is without a doubt Ms. Lawrence here.
The supporting cast of this film can't be forgotten, because everyone does a stellar job in their separate roles. Robert De Niro gives his finest performance in many years as Pat's football-obsessing father. Not only is he entertaining in every scene he's in, but he also delivers an emotional performance in two vital scenes to the film. Jacki Weaver delivers a sweet sidekick role as Pat's caring mother, who seems to be the only parent who fully cares about Pat's health. Chris Tucker delivers a subtle but funny performance that outshines his over-the-top performances in the 'Rush Hour' series. It would be very nice to see Tucker in more of these types of roles because it shows that he can actually act rather than just play an obnoxious, fast-talking cop all of the time. Even though Cooper and Lawrence deliver show-stopping performances, the supporting cast nails it in the roles they're given.
Director David O. Russell and the author of the book that this film is based on, Matthew Quick, co-wrote the screenplay together. In the screenplay, they created sharp and humorous dialogue, charming and relatable characters, and a wonderful atmosphere that feels like your own life despite one of the prime focuses of the film being the Philadelphia Eagles. The best thing about these characters is not that they're well-written, but it's that every character in the film is a flawed person, just like every person in the entire world. I think that's the reason why this movie works so well. Without the fantastic script and O. Russell's great direction, the actors wouldn't have acted as great as they did and the film wouldn't have been the same.
This movie was marketed so poorly that even I was turned off at first sight. If you think that this movie is a straight up romantic comedy, then you must be informed that this is so much different than you'd expect it to be. This is the story of two mentally effed up people who spark a connection and use their past experiences to connect together, while having personal and family problems along the way. It features some of the best acting you'll see from any actor in any 2012 movie. It's script is sharp and captivating throughout. To top all of that, this is a story that's relatable on so many levels that it's hard to describe and should just be seen to believe. 'Silver Linings Playbook' is a movie that on its outside shell would look like it shouldn't work. Once you really get into it's core though, you'll find an uplifting and captivating crowd-pleaser that will have you laughing, crying, and cheering by the end. Who knew that a movie about a mentally unstable man would be just as relatable and fantastic as a movie about an outsider high school student? I wouldn’t have seen that coming if it was an inch from my eyeball.
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