Silver Linings Playbook - Emotionally Gripping Romantic Comedy


                           Optimists are the ones who look on the bright side of matters and have the resiliency to survive defeats and disappointments. They cling to that belief like a raft in a storm, until the negative events or temporary setbacks subsides. David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook" (2012) is about one of those optimistic young man staggering in a sea of troubles. The film uses Oscar-worthy performers to distract us from the formulaic nature of the plot and we all might guess where this one is headed right from the start, but the trip is sheer pleasure and filled with surprising, strange detours.

Plot
        Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) is a former high-school teacher with bi-polar disorder. His wife's affair with another teacher brings him to meltdown state. He gets admitted to a psychiatric hospital. When the movie starts, we see Pat discharged from the hospital by his mother (Jacki Weaver). Pat is not entirely devoid from the violent fits — he finishes Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms and throws the book through a glass window because he’s angry over the sad ending — but he’s trying. Pat is also hell-bent to get his wife, Nikki back, even though she wants nothing to do with him.


                Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro) also has his mood swings. He is a superstitious bookie and an obsessive fan of the Philadelphia Eagles; he's also been banned from the stadium for beating up supporters of opponents.At a fateful dinner party hosted by a friend, Pat meets up with sharp-tongued Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), the recently widowed wife of a local cop. She has recently lost her job and is very unstable like Pat. They both strike up an unlikely friendship and Tiffany becomes the angel of his transformation. Pat's ex-wife is a friend of Tiffany's sister. He wants to get a letter to her (restraining order forbids him to meet Nikki) and Tiffany will help out if, in return, he agrees to be her partner in a dance competition. Once the deal is made, an unforeseen bond begins to form between them.
Analysis
          "Silver Linings Playbook" has lot in common with director Russell's last film, "The Fighter", where the plot is closely knit about dysfunctional families living in white, working-class enclaves. The story line of both the movies sound conventional and sentimental, on paper, but Russell's way of creating such rich and detailed worlds makes the stories unfolding within those worlds seem almost tangential. the direction perfectly matches the characters’ inner turmoil as the camera pushes in and pulls out to reflect emotional ups and downs. Russell doesn’t try to break any thematic ground, and in other hands this same material, which climaxes with a high-stakes dance contest, might have made ended as a typical Hollywood vehicle, but Russell and his cast make it funny, credible, and meaningful. 
                 Bradley Cooper addresses Pat's idiosyncrasies with charm and ease. He shifts convincingly between the extremes of euphoria and menace. He ably fills the tumultuous central character, but Jennifer Lawrence owns the film from the moment she enters and shows unwearying range, from deadened silence to hope to rage. Katniss of 'Hunger Games' is nowhere visible in Lawrence, who's a full, sensual, messed-up woman here. SLP based upon on the novel by Matthew Quick demands a central female character aged between 27-29. So, even though Lawrence is playing beyond her actual age (22) you still feel the pain and confidence and determination that Tiffany bears.


                   It's great to see De Niro as as an angry, obsessive-compulsive Philadelphia Eagles fanatic, who is more engaged in this movie than he has in years. Unlike a typical comical macho dad, De Niro lets us see the raw neediness and vulnerability just beneath that well-defended exterior. The film is at its best in the football-watching scenes with overlapping dialogue and lovingly precise superstitious domestic details. Jacki Weaver radiates warmth and love as Pat's forgiving mother. Anupam Kher's Psychiatrist Patel embodies certain stereotypes but is good as one of the silver-liners. Chris Tucker is funniest as Pat's friend, who keeps breaking out of the psych ward.
                   "Silver Linings Playbook" isn't the best of this year's Oscar nominated movies -- the ending is familiar and untidy -- but there’s something romantic and likeable in Russell's portrait of family dysfunction. It may be 2012's best comedy movie with a strong, attractive cast and sharp dialogues. 

Trailer



14 comments:

Haricharan Pudipeddi said...

great review buddy and very rightly said that it's not one of the best films but I liked the gact fact the David instills lot of optimism into the film and gives us hope despite the cliched ending :)

KayEm said...

Youngsters who are heartbroken should definitely watch this and realise their heartbreak will make them stronger as individuals but won't last. I, being the eternal optimist will definitely watch it too. Thanks for the review.

Arun said...

@Haricharan, Thanks for the comment.

KayEm, Thanks for the comment. Will be looking out for your opinion, once you have watched it.

Upendra Kumar said...

nice review,it is really wonderful film which offers a lot to learn.
UPENDRA KUMAR
www.gyanfyentertainment.blogspot.com

Split Strings said...

Definitely going to watch this movie.
Thumbs up for your review.
A follower now. :)

Arun said...

@Upendra Kumar, Thanks for the comment.

@Split Springs, Thanks for the comment and for following my blog. And, don't miss the movie.

Saru Singhal said...

Honestly, I didn't like this movie much.

Guspazha Chinar said...

Can't wait to watch the chemistry between Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Thanks for the great review!

Hindi CinemaBlog said...

Am glad it is now even more in the limelight in India due to Anupam Kher being a part of it and its Oscar nominations. I am yet to see it and your review does make me more eager.

KayEm said...

Did go and watch the movie after reading your review. It was everything you said and the trip was sheer pleasure.

Stagg Mann said...

Reminded me of As Good As It Gets. The leads saved an otherwise typical rom-com.



http://stagglandd.blogspot.in

Arun said...

@Stagg Mann, Thanks for the comment. Yeah, the perfect casting saved the movie from becoming a typical rom-com.

gilangbiantara2 said...

great post,i offer you to watch Silver Linings Playbook, really great movie, or Watch Silver Linings Playbook or the one more is From Up on Poppy Hill..

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