Review: Silver Linings Playbook

THE SETUP: Two pretty people, with serious social interaction problems, try to help each other out while struggling to overcome the one thing that seems to get in their way of happiness. Themselves.

THE THOUGHTS:  Well that could have gone badly. This was a movie that, by the trailer, could have been so formulaic (I now will no longer ever use that snooty word…nor will I use the word “snooty”). Yep, a person with personal problems meets someone quirky who helps them try to get over their issues. Seen that movie before? Like, 40 times? This is not that movie…sort of.

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence do some of their best work in Silver Linings. They’re funny, sad, kinetic, angry, weary and pull you in to their stories immediately. David O. Russell (stellar last name and director of Three Kings and The Fighter) does a great job capturing their manic moves and moods with equally manic camera work. Don’t worry, you won’t feel motion sickness but you’ll get a real sense of what the characters are going through. There’s a scene with Cooper and his parents as he has a melt down that is heartbreaking and tough to watch.  The director, who also wrote the screenplay, really took what could have been a straightforward story and focused on the relationships of these characters and their challenges rather than their illnesses.

I’m going to reveal a little something here…I’m a sucker for family relationship mush. There, I said it. But, only if it’s done right. The dynamic between Cooper’s character and his parents, played by Robert DeNiro and Jacki Weaver, felt real for me. Two people trying to do right by their son, and support him, but not really knowing how to do that. The story of how they reconnect with their son was as important to me as the one between Cooper and Lawrence.

Add a little sports obsession and amateur dancing, and you got a good movie.

Silver Linings Playbook Ratings
4 stars – you’d recommend this.  If you pay attention to entertainment websites, there’s a lot of talk or “buzz” around this movie. It is deserved. I see an award or two for this flick in the future.

Random Recommendations
Winter’s Bone (2010) So, who the heck is Jennifer Lawrence? It felt like she came out of no where and was suddenly Katniss (Hunger Games). This is the movie that got many to stand up and pay attention, including the Academy Award committee (she was nominated for Best Actress). “Gritty” would probably be the best description of this movie about a daughter trying to find her possibly dead and dead-beat father, to try to prevent the ruin of her family.


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