Silver Linings Playbook Review (Seen November 19th)

Director: David O. Russell

Writer: David O. Russell, Matthew Quick (novel)

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, and Julia Stiles

Distributor: Weinstein Company

Running Time: 2 Hours and 2 minutes (2:02)

Release Date: November 16th, 2012 (limited release)

Production Budget: 21 million

Plot Summary:
After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.

Review: I went into Silver Linings Playbook with a sense of optimism. I had gotten free tickets to this through a promotional deal so I had no personal investment going in. Being advertised as the feel good movie of the year I must say that this movie totally delivers, it wasn’t even until I left the theatre that I realized I was watching a romantic comedy.
The movie walks a thin line between adult-oriented family drama, and romantic comedy. It is a tricky tone to establish if any major department comes up short. Fortunately, the writing clicks, the direction is solid, and the actors have enough chemistry to make you forget your watching a movie; at least until the curtains come up.

I usually don’t like Bradley Cooper (38) as he often plays too much of a jerk in his movies; typecast as a cocky womanizer in most of his other roles, but I was surprised he was able to put together a performance where he was just crazy enough for the audience to relate to, but not too far gone to be alienating.

Having just seen “The Hunger Games”, I initially figured Jennifer Lawrence (22) was far too young to play a widow, but she is often able to bring a certain amount of maturity to the roles she takes on. This is vital to a film that casts to lead actors with 15 years between them to carry on a chemistry that is believable and it mostly works.

As for the rest of the acting Robert De Niro seems to have more life in him in this role than we’ve seen in years. I particularly loved the scene where he is speaking to Bradley Cooper’s character asking him to spend some quality father and son time watching a football game with him. The emotions of disappointment wash over his face in one of the films standout moments.

The remaining cast acts as filler serving the main performances. You get fills Jacki Weaver acting as a stereotypical old age mother, and have Chris Tucker also pops in for a few funny scenes to sport extra comic-relief. Overall the ensemble works just as it should with performances that slightly elevate standard rom-com material.

In a crowded holiday season, I like to look for a real gem and this movie stands out as one of the better films of 2012, and will most likely get Oscar attention from the academy come awards season.

Overall Grade: +2/ B+


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