30 March 2013 5:08 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Silver Linings Playbook; The Man with the Iron Fists; So Undercover

The prospect of an off-kilter romcom directed by troublesome auteur David O Russell and dealing variously with bereavement, mental illness, marital breakdown and competitive dancing may set alarm bells ringing. Certainly there were those who saw Russell's Oscar-feted latest as a shamelessly manipulative bid for awards glory, a claim which appeared to be backed up when the best picture nods started rolling in. Yet despite suspicions to the contrary, Silver Linings Playbook (2012, Entertainment, 15) is neither cynical nor muddle-headed – indeed, you would have to be pretty cynically muddle-headed to see it as such. It's an unexpectedly winning tragicomedy about ordinary people trapped in tales of everyday madness, although that description does the movie the injustice of making it sound terribly po-faced, which it most definitely is not.

Having earned a deserved Oscar nomination for her breakthrough role in Winter's Bone, »

- Mark Kermode

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