Director: David O. Russell
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro
I never intended to see this movie. When I first saw the trailer I was intrigued; Russell directed The Fighter, which I loved, Lawrence was in Winter’s Bone which, again, I loved, and De Niro is, well, De Niro. But it was Cooper who turned me off. I knew him only as the d-bag from Wedding Crashers & The Hangover. So, putting him in a romantic drama/comedy didn’t sound like movie magic to me. Apparently it did to the Academy.
Silver Linings Playbook is nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Director, Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress. That was enough of a nudge to get me into the theatre. It is the story of Pat, a man who’s marriage is ending and who has just been released from an eight month stay in a psych ward. As he moves back in with his dysfunctional family and tries to improve himself in order to win back his estranged wife, he meets Tiffany, a woman dealing with issues of her own. The two form an unlikely friendship, as they attempt to maneuver their way through adulthood.
While no movie could live up to such hyper hype, this film at least comes close. From the beginning it is extremely real, putting personality disorders in an interesting and often comical light. The family dynamic of this Philadelphia Eagles obsessed group is very genuine as well, with nothing fake or hidden. By the end, the story did take a turn for the cheesy, becoming a little too Hollywood to be excellent, but it never lost its audience. As far as the Oscars go, Cooper definitely earned his nomination, as did De Niro. Lawrence and Weaver; not so much, though they both were passable. Silver Linings Playbook might be a contender for Best Picture, and deservedly so, but it would fail to get my vote, by a slim margin.
My rating: ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰