Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Movie Review: SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (2012)

Silver Linings Playbook (2012). Starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert DeNiro. Dir: David O. Russell. Rated R. IMDB.

I've been a fan of director David O. Russell since his 1994 film Spanking the Monkey, though I haven't seen all of his movies. I loved his 1999 Iraq war film Three Kings, and I was excited that he had a new one. Of course, Silver Linings Playbook came with a lot of buzz and most of it not for him but for his stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, and the novel of the same name on which it's based. I haven't read the book and can't speak to how well it was adapted, but I will say that it's a very David O. Russell film about dysfunctional families and dysfunctional love.

The story centers around a man named Pat Solitano (Cooper), a former teacher who was hospitalized for bipolar illness following a violent physical attack on a man who was having an affair with Pat's wife. But as the story opens he's been released and is moving back in with his parents until he can take care of himself again. He's still obsessed with his wife Nikki, still thinks he can get her back, and he's not quite okay- not just yet. He refuses his medication and has episodes of instability; he also meets Tiffany (Lawrence), a widow with issues of her own, and the two form a tentative and slow-moving relationship of sorts. Then he asks her for a favor, and she accepts, but there are conditions.

I really enjoyed this movie. The actors were great- I mean, I'm no acting critic, but I thought everyone was wonderful. I think I'm a bona fide fan of Jennifer Lawrence now, and I didn't find Bradley Cooper to be annoying at all. I thought the portrayal of mental illness was realistic and sensitive, and I thought the way Russell portrays Pat's family was pretty realistic as well. Echoes of his illness show up both in his brother and father, while his mother copes as best she can to both direct the three men and keep out of the line of fire too. She was a great character, even if she didn't have the flashy role that Lawrence had. Pat's therapist is hysterical too. Pat's evolution is gradual and rang true for me.

I'd recommend Silver Linings Playbook to adult audiences looking for an intelligent and funny look at tragedy.

Rating: RUSH


FTC Disclosure: I did not receive tickets  to the film or any compensation for the review.

11 comments:

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

We saw this on Sunday and I adored the movie. Jennifer Lawrence was awesome and I loved the job Bradley Cooper did as well. An all around wonderful movie. (I already ordered the music soundtrack).

picky said...

This movie was so spot on. I have seen this illness up close and personal, and I actually had a really difficult time watching Cooper portray Pat. He did such a good job, but the audience laughed, even during the really violent scenes. It was odd to me, this reaction.

Anyway, all that to say, I was really impressed with this movie. It showed mental illness without making it campy or increasingly depressing. It was just so realistic.

Zibilee said...

I really want to see this one, and have been hearing a lot of good things about it from sources all over. I also really like Bradley Cooper, and think he's a great actor. It is a sensitive issue, and picky's comment that people in the theater were laughing just confuses me. I will have to let you know what I think after I see it.

Kathleen said...

Sounds like another one to add to my list.

JoAnn said...

We saw this on Sunday - Jennifer Lawrence was outstanding!!

Lindsey said...

I don't watch a lot of movies, but I want to see this one so badly! Thanks for confirming that this is one I should make time to watch. :)

Jenners said...

I really liked this one too … and I've been a David O. Russell fan since Flirting with Disaster. You never know what to expect with his movies but that they will be off-kilter.

pburt said...

I liked this as well - loved the last part with the dad and how he spoke to his son. I also like Lawrence but my two friends didn't think much of her performance at all.

Have you read The Tricking of Freya - I thought it was an excellent novel that deals with Bi-Polar Disorder.

Marie said...

pburt, Yes, I thought The Tricking of Freya was great.

ChaosIsAFriendOfMine said...

I just saw this movie tonight. I thought it was great. I really wanted Pat's mom to tell his father to back off!

stacybuckeye said...

We saw this week and both Jason and I really liked it. The acting was superb a;; the way aound. Osczr nominations are well deserved.