24 November 2012 4:05 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

David O Russell alternates between comedy and psychological drama in this hugely enjoyable film

Silver Linings Playbook has a suitably upbeat title and several of the key ingredients for a standard Hollywood "feelgood movie" – an oddball hero returning home to make peace with his family, an encounter with a kookie girl whom he ends up chasing through the festive, snow-flecked streets at Christmas, a couple of public contests (a dance and a football game) on the results of which the future depends. And indeed the movie does make you feel quite good about humanity as the final credits roll. But this is a David O Russell movie, his sixth since 1994, and for him feeling good is the reward for completing an emotional assault course.

Russell made his debut with Spanking the Monkey, a sparkling comedy about a middle-class lad on the threshold of leaving home to enter medical school, who »

- Philip French

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