Film review – Silver Linings Playbook (2012)


silver linings playbook 1

Film: Silver Linings Playbook
Released: 2012
Director: David O. Russell
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker

Synopsis:
After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own. Based on the debut novel of the same name by Matthew Quick.

What I thought of it:
When I first heard about this film, I wasn’t bothered about seeing it, but the idea grew on me until eventually I couldn’t wait to see it. It kind of snuck up on me, in a way.

It’s a romantic comedy with a difference – there aren’t a lot of belly laughs. In fact, most of the comedy comes from the absurdity of some of the situations, and occasionally it’s more of the nervous giggle you used to do when you were in the same room as one of your friends as their Dad gave them a right good telling off – you know, that little half-swallowed snort that you can’t prevent escaping.

As leads, both Cooper and Lawrence are believable and compelling and they have great onscreen chemistry which is evident both when they are loggerheads with one another, and when they are growing together as friends. There’s a lot of humour in the way they constantly ambush one another, and some sympathetic humour when we witness Pat’s middle of the night raves about the book he’s reading or trying to find his wedding video. You really feel for him when he’s coming apart and finally snaps, because you know exactly how hard he’s fighting to keep it together and be a better person.

De Niro and Weaver are both excellent as Pat’s long-suffering parents who are trying to understand and help their son however they can, and there’s also some light relief in the form of Pat’s friend Danny from the mental institution, who is well played by Tucker (I know, he annoys a lot of people, me included, but he’s pretty good here!).

The so called “sane” people in Pat’s life all seem to have their own agendas, which sometimes means manipulating this man who is in a fragile state and is now holding himself to higher ideals in his quest to win back his wife by proving he has improved himself and his entire outlook on life. Thus he is now living by the philosophy that there is a silver lining to every cloud. Really, it begs the question, who is really sane? Those who use others to their own advantage because their own lives are spiraling out of control, or the man who has come out of the mental institution with a fresh outlook on life and the drive to do what is right? Perhaps sanity is subjective.

It’s a feel good film with a lot of heart and great performances; a highly enjoyable journey of self awareness and friendship.

Rating: Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
Nominated for 8 Oscars:

  • Best Motion Picture
  • Best Director (David O Russell)
  • Best Actor (Bradley Cooper)
  • Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence)
  • Best Supporting Actor (Robert De Niro)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Jacki Weaver)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Best Editing

With nominations in the Big Six categories as well as two others, this has a very good chance of receiving a couple of Oscars, but I fear it may be beaten by films that are seen as being harder-hitting and “worthier” than a romantic comedy might. It has, however, been picking up awards left, right and centre at other ceremonies, so this could be the dark horse…

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