Sunday, November 25, 2012

Look For The Silver Lining (Film Review: Silver Linings Playbook)

If you look at it simply, "Silver Linings Playbook" follows the formula of a classic romantic comedy: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, big misunderstanding breaks them apart, they get back together. But, in this movie, it doesn't necessarily come in that order. Here, boy goes crazy so he loses one girl, only to meet crazy girl, and... Well, to pigeonhole this movie into one genre would not give it justice. "Silver Linings Playbook" is a lot of things - a family comedy, a love story, a dance movie - and thank God for that. Director David O Russell gives us a very complicated and satisfying movie that hits right at the core: the heart. 

Pat Solitano, played by Bradley Cooper, plays a high school teacher just released from a Baltimore psychiatric ward. He comes home to his parents, played by Jacki Weaver and Robert De Niro, and he pines for his wife who he caught cheating while Stevie Wonders "My Cherie Amore" plays, coincidentally their wedding song. He meets another tortured soul, Tiffany, played by Jennifer Lawrence, and the rest, well, the rest of the story is hard to describe. It is topsy turvy and makes unexpected turns. 

Cooper makes it all work. Sure, his frat boy tendencies still show up here, but he delivers a layered performance. He understands his character: this damaged good guy and he could have gone the sentimental route but  instead injects it with just the right balance of vulnerability and strength. Lawrence is a revelation. I knew she was good, and was even impressed by her Katness Everdeen, and even though I still think she is a tad too young for the part, she bulldozes her way into the role, and runs away with it. The two of them deserve at the very least his and hers nominations. Robert DeNiro has never looked more alive. I see him nowadays in all these thankless roles where he looks bored that it was nice to see him tackle a real character, for once. Actually, the whole ensemble is good. 

The romantic comedy fan in me wishes that the development of their love story was better, but that would be asking for a different kind of movie. And the last quarter of the movie seemed just a bit rushed. Still, you can't those away from a wonderful movie experience that you should hear honored on Oscar night.

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