Let me just hop right into this review and say that Silver Linings Playbook is, in my opinion, one of the best movies to grace the big screen with its presence in a while. David O. Russell hit the nail in the head with this one. Half romantic comedy, half dark comedy, this movie deals with everything from family drama, football fanaticism, to mental illness. The protagonist, Pat Solitano, who suffers from bi-polar disorder and stress induced mood swings (Bradley Cooper), has just gotten out of a mental institution for nearly beating a guy to death (which becomes somewhat understandable once we find out why.) Pat is determined to get his wife, Nikki, back. He starts by reading her entire high school reading syllabus (she’s a teacher) and by getting in shape. The movie beings with fit Bradley Cooper’s already perfect self, but we are led to believe that he was a lot heavier before he was sentenced to rehab. Pat reluctantly goes to dinner at his friends house where he meets recently widowed Tiffany, who has gone a little “crazy” after the death of her husband (Jennifer Lawrence.) Neither Tiffany nor Pat has a filter, which is why I think I love this movie so much. Their dialogue is so genuine and real. They don’t sugar coat or censor anything that comes out of their mouths, causing some hilarious, quotable lines. Shortly after meeting, Pat enlists the help of Tiffany to help him get Nikki back. She reluctantly agrees but she needs a favor in return. Tiffany wants Pat to perform with her at a ballroom dance competition. He originally agrees but we get to see his selfish side when he questions his part of their agreement. Cue Tiffany’s breakdown about always helping people and getting nothing in return. (Side note: Jennifer Lawrence is awesome.) Pat finally agrees and thus begins their extremely complicated friendship-dance partnership-relationship. Whatever it is, I love it.
Pat lives with his parents after leaving rehab because he is jobless and, for all intents and purposes, wifeless. His father is a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan. Pat and his father, Pat Sr., (Robert DeNiro) are very similar causing them to butt heads from time to time. Dolores, Pat’s mother (Jacki Weaver), is just along for the ride making Sunday game day snacks for Pat Sr. and putting up with Pat^2’s sporatic freak-outs. Pats’ relationship with his parents is rocky, but what adult would enjoy living with their parents after 10+ years on their own? The playbook part of the title comes from Pat Sr.’s love for football. He eats, sleeps, and breathes the Philadelphia Eagles. He makes his living as a bookie. Literally. Pat Sr. relies on the Eagles doing well through superstitious traditions called “juju.” This puts a strain on Pat and Pat Sr.’s relationship because Pat thinks the “juju” is crazy. Ironic coming from Pat, right?
Silver Linings Playbook focuses on Pat and Tiffany’s unusual relationship formed through Pat’s desire to fix his marriage and their preparation for the dance competition with the perfect amount of Solitano family shenanigans and Eagles football sprinkled in.
I won’t spoil anything or tell you more but I will tell you how amazed I was with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Coopers performances. I haven’t seen a movie where Bradley has had a character of real sustenance. Before Silver Linings Playbook, Bradley Cooper was still Phil from The Hangover to me. Now, I see him as an amazing actor. His performance of Pat was realistic, raw and quite frankly, amazing. I felt Pat’s emotions as he felt them, I believed his performance 100%. And don’t even get me started on Jennifer Lawrence. She deserved every award that she won for this film. She also gave a completely realistic, raw, and beautiful portrayal of her broken character. And their chemistry together? I don’t even know where to begin. I just know that Bradley is amazing. Jennifer is amazing. They are even more amazing together. Every scene with the two of them is hilarious and heart breaking at the same time.
I recommend this movie to everyone. I know this review is long overdue and that Silver Linings Playbook probably won’t be in theaters much longer but GO SEE IT while it’s out! Or, not that I know how or where or am condoning this, but find it on the Internet, or something.
And with that, I am going to leave y’all with one (of MANY) of my favorite quotes from the movie:
“This is what I believe to be true…you have to do everything you can, you have to work your hardest. If you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining.” -Pat, Silver Linings Playbook
If you happened to love SLP too, you should totally write to me in the comments because I would love to obsess over it with you.