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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 40%
Average: 3.33%
Pretty Bad: 3.33%
Total Crap: 0%

3 reviews, 12 user ratings

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Silver Linings Playbook
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by Greg Ursic

"No need to look for a silver lining - this one is pure gold"
4 stars

Mental health issues in film have highlighted the stark reality of a life behind the glass (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest), gone for the funny bone (The Cable Guy), provided thrills (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) or simply reveled in the strange (Black Sawn). But rarely has a movie tried to combine multiple elements, never mind succeeded. At least until now.

Unless you’re the Dalai Lama, chances are you probably lose your temper every once in a while; there’s a bit of yelling, some potential drama and maybe even a grudge. But Pat (Bradley Cooper) has a history of taking things to the next level, indeed one of his outbursts earned him a stint at a psychiatric hospital. With nothing but time on his hands Pat adapts the “when-life-gives-you-lemons-make-lemonade” credo to his needs and by embracing every negative and looking for the positive, he will win back his wife and his life. Best laid plans and all that.

As part of his “probation” Pat has to move back in with his parents - an obsessed Eagles fan, bookie and part time rageaholic dad (Robert De Niro) and enabling “all-is right” mom (Jackie Weaver) - abide by his restraining order and stay out of trouble. Of course it doesn’t take Pat long to go wrong, and things get further complicated when Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) - his best friend’s grieving sis-in-law - offers to help Pat get in touch with his ex.

It’s easy to understand how Silver Linings Playbook nabbed the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival (and gotten nods at several other festivals). First, there is the refreshingly manic screenplay: adapted from Matthew Quick’s novel by David O. Russell (who also directs) it is outrageously funny one moment and deadly serious the next. The script is also peppered with some wonderful verbal sparring sequences (pay close attention or you’re likely to miss some of the best lines). And surprisingly, given its two hour run-time, there is virtually no filler - every scene plays an integral role, thanks in large part to Russell’s tight direction.

Bradley Cooper, who has become typecast as the “good looking guy” definitely breaks out of that range here with a bravado performance as he tackles Pat’s obsessions and demons. He also connects with De Niro in two powerful scenes that also mark De Niro’s most resonant screen presence in the past decade. Jackie Weaver, who personified quiet menace as the mommy dearest in Animal Kingdom, proves that she can play nurturing as well, and John Ortiz provides some welcome comic diversion as Pat’s “got it together” best friend, who is, in reality, a complete mess. It’s Jennifer Lawrence however, who proved she was an actress to watch with her break out role in Winter’s Bone, whose combination of in-your-face honesty and vulnerability masked by a tough exterior, keeps the story moving forward, and for lack of a better word, grounded.

Silver Linings Playbook is a well written, solidly acted, unconventional romantic comedy / drama and one of the most entertaining movies you’re likely to see this year; don’t be surprised if you find yourself going back for seconds.

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originally posted: 11/25/12 17:57:14
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2012 Austin Film Festival For more in the 2012 Austin Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2012 Toronto International Film Festival For more in the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 48th Chicago International Film Festival For more in the 48th Chicago International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2012 San Diego Film Festival For more in the 2012 San Diego Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 35th Starz Denver Film Festival For more in the 35th Starz Denver Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

2/24/21 morris campbell solid flick about mental illness 4 stars
12/16/20 Brian Cute but tough. 4 stars
3/26/15 Robert Tschinkel Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper are a match made in heaven in this film 5 stars
6/18/13 Annie G I'm not fond of "look how quircky these mental illness folks are" films! 3 stars
5/05/13 Edler A great drama that is not depressing but not sappy. Cooper's career excelsior! 5 stars
5/04/13 mr.mike Good overall but I didn't care for the ending. 4 stars
2/26/13 Geraldine Solid romantic dramedy. 4 stars
1/27/13 oprah winnifred worse film yet from o russell 2 stars
1/23/13 Koitus Guys - go see it with your GF. You'll LOVE the J. Lawrence dancing outfits & camera work! 4 stars
1/19/13 Chris. So surprised--I was ready for a typical crapfest. I don't buy many movies but I'll buy this 5 stars
12/17/12 Monday Morning Lots of lame rom-coms out there, but this one is excellent! I laughed, cried, & loved it. 5 stars
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  16-Nov-2012 (R)
  DVD: 30-Apr-2013


  DVD: 30-Apr-2013

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