Director David O. Russell (“The Fighter”) and screenwriter Matt Quick (based on his novel) deliver an original, intelligent dramedy about life, love and loss.
Pat (Bradley Cooper) has just been released from a mental institution in Baltimore after having a violent episode some months back. Now, he finds himself living at home with his parents (Robert De Niro & Jacki Weaver) in Philadelphia.
Pat has lost everything including his home, his job and his wife Nikki (Brea Bee). In order to try and win Nikki back, Pat cozies up to her good friend Veronica (Julia Stiles) and her husband Ronnie (John Ortiz) at dinner one night. Veronica invites her younger sister Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) to join them for dinner and we quickly learn that Tiffany has some issues of her own.
After dinner, Pat and Nikki find themselves running into each other (literally) and the two quickly become friends. Pat’s main goal is to get Tiffany to get a letter to his ex-wife, since they see each other occasionally. Nikki has a restraining order against Pat (you’ll see why in the movie), so this is the “safest” way of coming into contact with her. Tiffany agrees to give the letter to Nikki under one condition: Pat needs to partner with her in a dance competition.
These actors’ performances are enough to head to the theatre and see the movie. Bradley Cooper, who just turned over his “Sexiest Man Alive” card to Channing Tatum, hit the fast lane after playing the comical Phil in 2009’s “The Hangover.” Cooper takes a turn on the dramatic side playing the highly unpredictable, bi-polar Pat and he does a fantastic job doing it.
Jennifer Lawrence is amazing and deserves a leading lady nomination come Oscar season. Hell, the young actress should win for both her portrayal of Katniss in “The Hunger Games” and this! What I loved most about her and Cooper’s characters was how unpredictable and fun they are. The best scenes in the film are when their characters are out-of-control, in a good, refreshing way. We never knew what these two were going to do next.
Robert De Niro (who played opposite Cooper in “Limitless”) plays his dad in this film. Pat’s father is an obsessive, superstitious Eagles fan who is addicted to placing bets on his beloved football team. De Niro and Cooper have great chemistry together. Whether the two are trying to pull each other’s hair out or provide a shoulder to lean on, the father-son bond shows perfectly in “Silver Linings.”
The one problem I had with “Silver Linings” is a particular scene that ran about five minutes too long. I know it’s picky, but this scene happens about ¾ of the way into the movie and causes the story to lose its fluidity. There’s too much dialogue and not enough action during that scene!
Not only one of the best romantic films of the year, its one of the best of the year. “Silver Linings Playbook” is that genuinely wonderful adult romantic dramedy that completely transcends its genre.