This disastrous family dinner is when Silver Linings really finds its footing. With a tart sense of humor that leads to plenty of full-on belly laughs, one can’t help rooting for these people who are clearly damaged goods. Proving to be one of the most versatile young actresses out there after stellar work in Winter’s Bone and as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, Lawrence sparkles in every scene she's in. She’s the perfect yin to Pat’s yang, and thanks to a script that keeps you guessing, you’re never quite sure what’s about to happen next.

That genuine surprise factor, not to mention a story that honestly explores the struggles of mental illness, warts and all, is what helps elevate this from your standard rom-com. Like Benny & Joon, minus all the stylized kookiness, Silver Linings Playbook is a joy to watch. More importantly, however, it extols the virtues of a family that truly sticks together through thick and thin—no cheesy pop soundtrack required.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol: Social drinking depicted throughout, frequent discussion of prescription drugs related to mental illness
  • Language/Profanity: A steady stream of f-bombs and other profanity including sh--, da--, he--, as-. A handful of exclamations of God’s names and uses of go-dam-. A couple of rude gestures and derogatory comments about people with mental illness, African Americans and Pat’s shrink from India.
  • Sex/Nudity: Rude references to male and female anatomy. A man discovers that his wife is having an affair with a fellow teacher, and he catches them in the act. First, we see their scattered clothing on the floor leading up the stairs, and eventually, we see his wife’s naked backside through a clear shower curtain. Oral sex is implied in the shower scene. A husband and wife are shown in bed together—no sex or nudity. Some kissing and making out. A few of the dancers wear sheer and/or cleavage-baring costumes. In a scene played for laughs, one dance move involves a guy lifting a girl up, and her crotch is basically in his face.
  • Violence: Pat clearly has anger issues, and when he confronts his wife’s lover, he punches him and stomps him in the face. Pat punches his mom in the shoulder, and his dad punches him in return. They start a fight that leads to black eyes and bruising. A man demolishes a hospital waiting room when he hears a song that’s an anger trigger. A scene involving the breaking of dishes. Several scenes with lots of yelling. Description of how a man was killed while stopping to help someone with a flat tire on the highway.

Christa Banister is an author and full-time freelancer writer, specializing in music, movies and books-related reviews and interviews and is the author of two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers. Based in Dallas, Texas, she also weighs in on various aspects of pop culture on her personal blog

Publication date: November 21, 2012