Film of the Week: Silver Linings Playbook

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper star in Silver Linings Playbook (The Weinstein Company)

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper star in Silver Linings Playbook (The Weinstein Company)

Sometimes one has to accept one’s crazy side to find happiness.

Pat is out of mental institution, but he’s far from recovered.  Yet he’s got a strategy how to get back his normal life, which would have worked out if it wasn’t based on his delusions.  And to complicate it further, there’s this woman called Tiffany running into his life …

Silver Linings Playbook is a film for every adult. There’s so much life in it.  Humor, love, compassion, misunderstanding and acceptance.

David O. Russell doesn’t stop to deliver great stories. His previous film Fighter was somewhat similar to this one.  But while Fighter was an inspirational drama, Silver Lining Playbook is a feel-good smart romantic comedy, which is based on a Matthew Quick’s novel.  Some of its elements such as sport, betting and father/son relationship in it make the movie rather an outsider in its genre.  This mix is excellent, especially when you have such an amazing cast.

Jennifer Lawrence who plays Tiffany here doesn’t stop to amaze me. Her meticulous nuanced acting in Hunger Games continues in Silver Linings in a different way:  Tiffany is not strong and self-controlling like Katniss Everdeen, on the opposite – she’s fragile and explosive.  The subtlety with which Lawrence delivers Tiffany’s character is awe-inspiring. Please, give the girl her Oscar, honestly, people!

Bradley Cooper who portrays the main character Pat is solid and enjoyable in this role. He’s got one of the best lines too like: “Your poor social skills are not my problem.” Not to anyhow diminish Bradley’s skills I’d say his main trick is the assertive hyperactive style of speaking and mannerisms similar to what a teenage actress Abigail Breslin does. When it comes to quieter and subtler emotions he’s not a match to Lawrence, who’s a superhumanly talented girl, I’d compare her to a  young Helen Mirren.

The film is also great because of not so smooth relationship of Pat with his parents, who are played by Robert De Niro and  Jacki Weaver. Both of them are a pleasure to watch. They clearly just enjoy acting, they don’t need to prove themselves anymore having built a great reputation over the years.  Cooper and Lawrence are another matter, and I’m glad that Cooper is working hard and improving over the years.  My only worry is how Lawrence’s going to shine even brighter. It’s a Jodi Foster problem: that woman received two Oscars by the age of thirty. The solution is versatility, and that’s something to learn from the latest Foster’s work.

Back to the movie. I can’t praise enough the script, the dialogue is brilliant. I’ve noticed a small flaw though. Pat is giving his backstory to his shrink, though the latter already knows it.  This happened because of the script trap (I won’t tell you which one) – it was nearly impossible to put it anywhere else. So, the backstory dump is done just to inform the viewer of what’s happened to Pat,  and  this way it’s a bit clumsy, yet  in Cooper’s interpretation it still works out well.

Years ago David O. Russell made my favourite film I Heart Huckabees and he keeps nailing it time after time. I’m so looking forward to see his new project.

If you haven’t seen this film yet,  I hope my ramblings here are a good incentive to urge you to do it.

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