Silver Linings Playbook, because of its eight Academy Award nominations (including Best Director and Best Picture), has merited my personal viewing. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Matthew Quick, released in 2008. It stars Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro and Jacki Weaver, all of whom were nominated for an Oscar.
Pat Solitano Jr. (Cooper) has just been released from a mental facility after 8 months and returns to his parents’ home in New Jersey. His family are lifelong fans of the Philadelphia Eagles, and Pat’s now unemployed father Pat Sr. (DeNiro) has resorted to bookmaking games. Pat Jr. was diagnosed as bipolar after he discovered that his wife was cheating on him and nearly beat the other man to death. Despite this, Pat is trying to stay positive and work on getting better, though he has his several inevitable “relapses.” Eventually he meets Tiffany (Lawrence) who has also had her share of mental health struggles after the death of her husband. Even though the two have an immediate chemistry, Pat is still delusionally confident that he can win his wife Nikki (who has a restraining order on him) back if he continues to improve himself. Tiffany agrees to deliver a letter to Nikki if Pat will be her dance partner in a local competition. After losing most of his money, Pat Sr. has an opportunity to win it all back on a bet if the Eagles beat the Cowboys and if Tiffany and Pat’s performance rates as a 5/10 or higher. So everything is hinging on this dance: money, respect and naturally, love.
Though his recent career has been a string of cool-guy/toolbag roles, Bradley Cooper does surprisingly well in Silver Linings Playbook. He’s not the most talented actor, but this role shows that he can handle the more dramatic roles, provided that they are weighted with an adequate amount of humor. Jennifer Lawrence also lends a great (and Golden Globe winning) performance as the damaged and engaging young widow Tiffany. For Cooper and Lawrence’s sake, I hope that there are more film opportunities like Silver Linings Playbook instead of more Hunger Games and Hangover fluff. Overall, Silver Linings Playbook is a decent and enjoyable film. The juxtaposition of a “feel-good movie” with extreme cases of bipolar disorder, OCD and sex addiction is an odd setup however. Oh well, love conquers all. Except psychological conditions. You need therapy and prescription medicine for those.
Final Grade: ★★★½ 3.5/5