The world will break your heart ten ways to Sunday. That’s guaranteed. I can’t begin to explain that. Or the craziness inside myself and everyone else. -Pat Solitano
I didn’t know much about “Silver Linings Playbook” before entering the theatre. I knew it had Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, as well as a slew of nominations. It seemed like a good enough reason to give it a try.
As promised, here is my loose review. It’s not streamlined at all, so I apologize in advance. Just try to bear with me. If you can’t make it through my review, then just know the movie is worth a go.
“Silver Linings Playbook” may be created around a mental illness, but everyone can relate to some part in the movie. Job loss, tragedy, discrimination and broken relationships all find their way into the movie.
Cooper has a rawness about him that draws emotions out of the audience. It’s a nice surprise when considering the roles he normally accepts. He draws the audience in immediately in one of the first scenes of the movie. He stares into the camera with such intense feeling I knew immediately this was a good decision. His blue eyes appear haunted, but hopeful.
We meet his character, Pat Solitano, as he is being discharged after eight months at a mental hospital. He has been recently diagnosed as bi-polar, this all comes after finding his wife in the middle of an affair and almost killing the man.
Writer David O. Russell has created a gem through Pat and the many characters that he interacts with in his life. Chris Tucker’s character, a friend from the mental hospital, is only in a few scenes, but is one of the most refreshing characters. His upbeat outlook on life, despite failed attempts to be discharged early, is energetic and refreshing. A silver lining, if you may.
All of Pat’s relationships have their own struggles. His father, played by Robert De Niro, is a gambler who is driven by his extreme superstitions. Both of Pat’s parents are unsure of how to handle Pat and their attempts to keep him on a straight path create a tense household.
His best friend is unhappy in almost every aspect of his life. He dislikes his job and is unhappy in his marriage to a wife who continuously raises her expectations in her husband.
Even Pat’s therapist has a larger role in the movie. He attempts to help Pat learn how to deal with Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour.” The song was playing when he caught his wife, and was their wedding song. The two grow closer outside the office at a Philadelphia Eagles tailgate when someone speaks racial slurs to the doctor and his other friends.
It is Pat’s relationship with Tiffany, Jennifer Lawrence’s character, which helps Pat the most. Tiffany’s husband has recently died and she has combated her sorrow by having sex with everyone from her workplace.
The two have relied on their physical appearances and abilities to focus. Pat feels that if he can get in shape, his wife Nikki will take him back. But, now that they are spending time together, they begin to bring out the true reality for each of them.
There is a very fine line in how to make a comedy based on a mental illness, but through the story Russell has adapted from the book by Matthew Quick, it is a gripping piece. The writing, the acting and the camera angles all make for a spectacular two hours.
I haven’t enjoyed a movie from beginning to end that much in a long time. If any of you go see it, let me know what you thought of it, or if you have your own movie suggestions for me.