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Against medical advice and without the knowledge of her husband Pat Solatano Sr., caring Dolores Solatano discharges her adult son, Pat Solatano Jr., from a Maryland mental health institution after his minimum eight month court ordered stint. The condition of the release includes Pat Jr. moving back in with his parents in their Philadelphia home. Although Pat Jr.'s institutionalization was due to him beating up the lover of his wife Nikki, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Nikki has since left him and has received a restraining order against him. Although he is on medication (which he doesn't take because of the way it makes him feel) and has mandatory therapy sessions, Pat Jr. feels like he can manage on the outside solely by healthy living and looking for the "silver linings" in his life. His goals are to get his old job back as a substitute teacher, but more importantly reunite with Nikki. He finds there are certain instances where he doesn't cope well, however no less so ... Written by
Although the ending was awfully formulaic, the overall package is just terrific.
The Oscars are still a few weeks away, so at this point I have no idea which awards, if any, this film will receive. I also cannot really say which ones it SHOULD receive, as I still have quite a few movies to see that were also nominated for the big awards. But I can say that the two leads were just terrific and I loved how unconventional most of the film was. I seem to have heard a lot more about how great Jennifer Lawrence was in the film--and she was AMAZING. However, I can't understand why I haven't heard at least as much about Bradley Cooper--his performance as a really screwy guy was quite convincing.
The movie starts off in a mental hospital. It seems that Cooper's character was forced to go there because of SOMETHING he did--and eventually you learn that he nearly killed his wife and the man with who she was having an affair. And, based on what happened to him, you really COULD understand the man snapping like this. But, he also is mentally ill and desperately in need of professional help. His behaviors are consistent with a Bipolar Disorder with LOTS of Obsessive-Compulsive traits...LOTS. Despite it begin very clear that his marriage is over (the wife not only cheated on him but has a restraining order out on him), he lives in a delusional world where if he only gives it time, everything will work out perfectly. It obviously won't but he's too sick and stubborn to admit it.
Into this screwed up little world comes a woman almost as screwy as him. Jennifer Lawrence plays a young lady whose husband was killed tragically--and her coping skills totally suck. She uses sex to deaden her pain and she is also mentally ill. Together, these two screwed up people will somehow work through these issues. I liked this. But what made the movie lose a point was the ending. The subplot involving the bet and the magical way everything worked out at the end seemed to give way to formula--which is a shame, as up until then, the film was great because it was NOT formulaic. Still, the film is terrific from start to finish and I wouldn't be surprised if at least one of the leads wins the award as well as the film taking home top honors. Well worth seeing. And, well worth seeing for Robert De Niro's exciting supporting performance--it showed some depth that you don't normally see from him.
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