'Silver Linings Playbook' Review

‘Silver Linings Playbook,’ starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert De Niro is a showcase for actors.

The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including noms for Best Actor (Cooper), Best Supporting Actor (De Niro), Best Supporting Actress (Jacki Weaver), and an Oscars win for Jennifer Lawrence as Best Actress.

‘Silver Linings Playbook’ also won the “Movie of the Year” award from the American Film Institute.

Okay, so the critics all loved it. But is ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ a good film for the average audience member? Unequivocally yes!

Bradley Cooper shows that he’s truly leading man material in his portrayal of Pat Solitano, a former teacher who has just been released from court-ordered confinement in a mental hospital.

As Pat attempts to assimilate back into life with the help of his parents (Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver) we, the audience, gain insights as to why and how Pat became incarcerated in the first place.

Pat is prone to emotional outbursts and occasionally slips into fits of uncontrolled rage when unable to handle life’s daily pressures. Now living with his parents, and with the help of a tough-love psychiatrist (brilliantly played by Anupam Kher), Pat still obsesses over the failure of his marriage and tries valiantly in reclaiming his former life.

In the midst of trying to convince everyone that there’s nothing wrong with him, Pat continues to struggle behaviorally to fit in to his surroundings.

Enter Tiffany, another broken soul whose husband recently passed away and who seems to be living a life “against the grain” of normal society. Tiffany is just like Pat. Bold, unfiltered, and at odds with the world and the people around her.

When Tiffany’s sister Veronica (Julia Stiles) decides to introduce Pat and Tiffany, the two connect with an electric eccentricity and have an obvious instant connection. Both lead characters are passionate, intelligent observers of human nature and seem to forge an emotional connection as well as a raw physical attraction to each other.

In ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ the flawed protagonists are possibly less in need of psychiatric help than the people that populate their lives and who pass judgments upon them. Just as the film appears as if it might explore this interesting story thread, director David O. Russell pulls away from it to focus on a more traditional story about human connections and personal redemption.

While some of the directions taken in ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ story-wise might leave someone scratching their heads over lapses in logic, the pitch-perfect cast pulls it all off through intricately nuanced and passionate performances.

I would question the nomination for Academy Awards for Best Picture, mostly because certain story elements resolve themselves a little too neatly. The performances by literally every member of this fantastic cast are what makes ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ so watchable and so good.

Lawrence and Cooper both bring a feral intensity to their roles as broken kindred souls that leaves you cheering for them both. And Bradley Cooper, in a year where Daniel Day-Lewis didn’t absolutely stun everyone with his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln, might very well have won an Oscar for his performance as well.

Four stars out of five. Flixnerd Recommended!

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