Lovable Misfits Make Silver Linings Something Special
- Wednesday, November 21, 2012
DVD Release Date: April 30, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: November 21, 2012
Rating: R (language and some sexual content/nudity)
Genre: Drama/Romantic comedy
Run Time: 122 min.
Director: David O. Russell
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Chris Tucker, Jacki Weaver, Julia Stiles, Dash Mihok, John Ortiz, Shea Whigham, Anapum Kher
In stark contrast to most romantic comedies with the requisite meet-cute, soft lighting and the epic finale usually involving someone chasing his/her soulmate through an airport, David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook is anything but typical. If anything, it’s the genre’s slightly unhinged cousin.
Given Russell’s body of work, which has always gravitated toward lovable misfits, complicated family dynamics and people who love screaming at each other (see: The Fighter, I Heart Huckabees and the criminally underrated Flirting With Disaster), it’s not surprising that he doesn't opt for the universal crowd-pleaser.
Still, as lovably offbeat as Silver Linings Playbook is, the story is still grounded in enough reality to resonate on a deep emotional level. With a role that demanded something more than swagger, a rarity in his career so far, Bradley Cooper (The Words) turns in what's easily his best performance yet. Showcasing a surprising vulnerability as Pat, a bipolar teacher who just wrapped up an eight-month stint in a mental hospital, his new lease on life is what inspired the movie’s title.
As grim as Pat’s existence has been since he caught his wife cheating on him, snapped and lost his teaching job in the process, he’s now determined to see the silver lining in every situation. Unfortunately, that isn’t quite as easy as he hoped.
In the midst of making great strides, he’s derailed by reading Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. He falls apart whenever he hears Stevie Wonder’s "My Cherie Amour," the song played at his wedding. And if moving forward in a healthy way wasn’t already challenging enough, his football-loving father (Robert De Niro, Being Flynn) certainly isn’t helping matters.
Apparently, crazy runs in the family, and Pat’s dad is practically OCD when it comes to his beloved Philadelphia Eagles. Believing the team's string of bad luck directly correlates with Pat's failure to watch the games with him on Sunday afternoons, their father/son dynamic ebbs and flows like quarterback Michael Vick's productivity in the red zone.
Adding another layer of drama to the proceedings is when Pat and Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence, X-Men: First Class) eventually meet not-so-cute at a family function. As they compare the anti-depressants they’ve taken the way soldiers trade war stories, Pat is both startled and dazzled by Tiffany's lack of social skills. Clearly he’s found a kindred spirit, even if he makes it known from the get-go that he’s determined to win his ex-wife back.
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