Review - Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook (2012), R, 122 minutes - Last weekend I finally had the opportunity to see Silver Linings Playbook.  I was actually amazed that it was still in theaters here as it first arrived back during the week of Christmas along with Django Unchained.  That's right, it has been in theaters here in the Roanoke area for three months!  The screening I saw it at was pretty well attended for a mid-day Sunday showing of a movie in its twelfth week in release.

Silver Linings Playbook was written/directed by David O. Russell and focuses on Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) as he moves back into his parents' home after a stint in a mental institution following an incident stemming from his discovery of his wife cheating on him.  He is convinced that he is going to get his life straight and that he and his wife will get back together.  Everyone else feels like he is just getting his hopes up and will be crushed again.  While having dinner at his friend Ronnie's (John Ortiz) house, Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a young widow who has her own batch of unique issues.  They both have a tendency to speak without a filter and they bond a bit over a conversation in which they compare the various drugs they have been prescribed and how they make them feel.  Over the coming months, they develop an odd relationship, both quick to point out the other's shortcomings but also being supportive in a way that only someone with similar experiences could be.

Pat's relationship with Tiffany isn't the only unusual aspect of his attempt to rejoin society.  After his stay in the mental institution, he recognizes all of the problems those around him have.  Ronnie's marriage is failing, but he refuses to see it.  Pat's father Pat, Sr. (Robert DeNiro) has an obsession with the Philadelphia Eagles, is obsessive compulsive, has a bit of an anger problem (he was banned from the Eagles' home stadium for beating up other fans in an altercation in the stands), and is relying on his bookie work on the side to provide an income.  Pat's mother Dolores (Jackie Weaver) is non-confrontational and didn't even tell Pat, Sr. that she was picking Pat up from the mental institution to bring him home for fear of his disagreeing.  In short, Pat has a little bit of a hard time taking advice from everyone when he sees that they've got just as many problems as he does.

The cast is absolutely wonderful.  Silver Linings Playbook snagged Oscar nominations in all four acting categories (Best Actor: Cooper, Best Actress: Lawrence, Best Supporting Actor: DeNiro, Best Supporting Actress: Weaver), and won for Jennifer Lawrence's performance as Tiffany, an honor she certainly deserved.  John Ortiz, Chris Tucker, and Julia Stiles were also quite good in limited roles.

Silver Linings Playbook is a romantic dramedy that doesn't go overboard with the romance, the drama, or the comedy.  Silver Linings Playbook is well balanced and is a just a very well made movie.  I was late to the party when it came to seeing this film and I wish that I had had the chance to see it sooner, but I would highly recommend it to anyone if it is still showing in their area.  If not, definitely give it a look as a rental.

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