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Generally, this film is a romantic drama, confronting mental issues
sympathetically and with some humour but keeping the poignancy of the
subject. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are the stars and rule
the screen together with great chemistry and physicality. Robert de
Niro was also (unsurprisingly) brilliant, depicting Pat (Cooper's)
father - suffering with some mental issues himself and creating an
unstable environment for a young man with vulnerability having just
come out of a mental hospital. Jennifer Lawrence, also amazed by her
acting skill; great range, as did Cooper. Portraying someone with
bipolar or erratic behaviours is difficult to change posture and
expression on the drop of a coin and these two actors did very well.
The story is complex, gripping, nerve-wracking and quite complex. The story isn't spelled out and is revealed in the narrative and through the occasional flash backs. The scenes are a little choppy, certainly at first, but this probably is a technique to speed up the opening part of the film. The cinematography is plainly shot, with no surprises, and I think that it could have used some more artistic styles or variation. The language in the film was quite bad, given that I was watching with someone who was sensitive to that, but it wasn't entirely unnecessary in that it fit with the characters and the narrative. The story itself took in mental illness, love, disappointment, familial dysfunction, gambling issues, bereavement and is wonderful, uplifting and very interesting but sometimes worrying and uncomfortable to watch.
I can see why this got lots of awards, including Jennifer Lawrence's Oscar, given the range of the actors and the complexity of their characters. Whilst it was brilliant, I wouldn't recommend it to everyone but will certainly vouch for how good it is! A fantastic character led drama with a touching love theme.
Led by director David O Russell (The Fighter), and delivered by great
performances from the Oscar Nominated leads (Bradley Cooper, Jennifer
Lawrence, Robert De Niro), Silver Linings Playbook works brilliants.
The film skates over issues of mental illness, only starts to get going with the belated introduction of Jennifer Lawrence (about 25 minutes in), and ultimately follows a relatively conventional rom-com flightpath. But there are times when it does something new with the genre and it does make you care about the protagonists.
As great as he is a writer, Russell's direction is as fantastic as always. If there's one thing that can be said, even in his weaker entries, he's always had a knack for extracting terrific performances out of all of his actors. The lead character on paper is only as good as his actor, and Bradley Cooper expresses every believable ache out of Pat Jr. Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver are typically strong as his parents, while Chris Tucker works with a nice little comic relief in his brief role.
Why the film works besides the directing is the story. It is fascinating seeing Cooper act as a mental patient wondering his way through his everyday life, as well as Jennifer Lawrence playing a mysterious browser. Silvers Lining Playbook is disguised as a rom-com but it is much more than your typical Hollywood fare. You are rooting for the characters in the end, as even though it may be somewhat predictable, the way it all unfolds is worth the watch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
You see, this is one of the films in which you know how the basic plot would go. Even thou there's a part of film which you definitely have to enjoy. And that part is acting. I think most of you know someone who is kind of mental ill, or you even have someone like that in your family. So to see this truly performance of both main actors is definitely astonishing and exciting. Pat and Tiffany are really hard-to-play characters. But from my point of view, they're nailing it. If i have to say who is better, i would say Bradley Cooper, but it would be only for the slightest thing. Also kudos goes to De Niro who still got it. I really believed him that he cares about his son and also, that he can't get out of him self. He is still somehow watching his goals.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
A great drama/comedy, both funny and moving, with terrific acting from a terrific cast. What more do you want? Ah, maybe a little more originality, an ending (and a dysfunctional family) that wasn't a twist on "Little Miss Sunshine," something a little less sentimental?
All of these things. And yet, with misgivings intact, the movie is still great in its own way. Part of the reason is some hard, true acting. Both Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are spot on believable, funny, and fleshed out beyond stereotypes. The rest of the cast, including De Niro as the Cooper's father, are simpler characters and yet the types they play don't quite become stereotypes. In fact, the three men (the dad and the two friends) are superb within their roles.
It might be Lawrence who sets the movie on fire most, even above Coopers volatile, yet tightly bound, performance. Lawrence is a kind of freed version of what Cooper must play, and she's more fun, less troubled perhaps, and utterly optimistic. Which brings up the point of the movie.
Beyond the plot of a pair of young people struggling with common forms of mental illness that require medication but allow for fairly normal lives, there is the larger point of rising up, of being positive, or making things happen by wanting to and following through. This is the moving part, the part that makes you love and identify and even envy the main characters as they show how to succeed within their malaise. It really is a common thing to face a mental flaw that brings your life down, or someone you love. And here is how to deal, how to try to deal.
Yes, this is pure Hollywood, without suggesting its happy ending in any detail. It lacks what someone like, say, Cassavetes would attempt in this situation (and the result would fail to reach a larger audience). But it has some brave aspects, making real a situation that needs some understanding without turning it into unmitigated nightmare.
Director and co-writer David O. Russell has a leaning to films that mix high drama and real human and interpersonal concerns. This might be his best film ("Three Kings" is worth seeing for its mix of serious and comic aspects to war, and "The Fighter" has qualities of sadness and persistence that echo here), and it is one that sets his direction as a more serious, interesting Hollywood director. See this.
If you go into this movie thinking that you would like to see a romantic drama with some laughs, a good cast, and a good heart, then you will like this movie. If you go into this movie thinking you are about to see one of the best movies in recent years, then you will be asking yourself "Really?" throughout the entire film. Don't get me wrong, I liked the movie overall. I just wish my expectations had not been so high. There was very good acting by everyone in the cast, and Jennifer Lawrence is arguably one of the prettiest actresses to come along in decades, but during much of the movie the dialogue just doesn't sound even remotely believable. There was also a contrived fight scene near the end of the movie that I guess was necessary for the plot, but it was entirely 100 percent unbelievable. Still, I would give this movie 3 out of 4 stars for the good acting and the good-natured script. The world needs more positive movies like this one.
Knowing Philly and having lived there I got an immediate satisfaction
from the familiar atmosphere and settings, right down to De Niro's
character planning on opening a cheese-steak restaurant!
Aside from this personal note, I loved Silver Linings Playbook, it seems very much a companion piece to The Fighter in structure and tone (if you can look beyond the difference in genre: sport movie and romantic comedy/musical comedy).
It's funny, upsetting, honest and romantic. The actors are adorable, the whole story takes you in and has you rooting for the characters in a very down-to-earth way.
We are all vulnerable little beings with breakable hearts and this is one from the heart. Thank you for the contagious optimism and hope to everyone who made this film.
Director David O. Russell (Three Kings) has taken Matthew Quick's
novel, Silver Linings Playbook, and adapted it for the screen. It is a
topic near and dear to him as his own son has bipolar disorder like the
lead character. By balancing dramatic situations with comedic
overtones, Russell has accomplished a rare feat, an excellent drama
with a superior cast that treads the fine line of humor. By making such
a delicate subject accessible to the masses, he has made a really
entertaining, crowd pleaser.
Pat (Bradley Cooper) suffers from bipolar disorder and, following a breakdown over a failed marriage and confinement to a psychiatric facility in Baltimore, has just been released to his parents' care. Now back in Philadelphia and living with his parents, Dolores (Jacki Weaver), his doting mother, and Pat, Sr. (Robert DeNiro), a sports addict, Pat is determined to get his wife back despite a restraining order. He is so obsessed with getting back with his wife that he boils over on occasion with emotional outbursts which threaten to send him back to confinement. When he is not taking his meds or visiting his therapist, he runs in his neighborhood to get into shape in anticipation of repatriating with his wife, or so he thinks. One day he runs into Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), another troubled soul who not only has been widowed recently, but now sleeps with anyone. Their uneasy interactions lead to an unusual offer by Tiffany for him to partner with her in a dance contest in exchange for her being an intermediary and backdoor link to his wife. What follows are the revelations of emotional scars and the realities of finding happiness in the most unlikely places.
The cast is excellent, particularly the four lead actors. Lawrence portrays Tiffany as a seemingly naïve, young woman, but she turns out to be a bright, perceptive person who is not afraid to stand toe-to-toe with anyone. DeNiro has not had such a strong role in many years, and he shows just how good he still is. Even Chris Tucker, in an unusual supporting role, registers as Pat's buddy from his psych group.
The film is about how people, who are trapped in their own patterns of behavior, are afraid or unable to reach out and take a chance in life. The depictions of mental illness are portrayed with realism. When Pat undergoes mood swings, it can manifest itself as uncontrollable rage brought on by a simple trigger. He has no filter to his reactions and responses which can be quite awkward and downright offensive. Much as Jack Nicholson's character in As Good as It Gets laments if 'this really is as good as it gets', Cooper's Pat tries to find the 'silver lining' in his life.
It is interesting to note that virtually every major character in the story has emotional issues in varying degrees. At one point Pat actually thinks Tiffany is crazier than he is. Pat's father, a superstitious gambler and bookie, has his own issues with obsessive-compulsive disorder. His belief that having his son nearby to ensure the Eagles football team a victory, leads to an amusing confrontation with Tiffany.
When you have a cast that is this good, you have to look at the director, Russell, who orchestrates like a master conductor. Despite an uneven filmography in his early career, he is rapidly becoming the actors' go-to director. His attention to minor details like the simple act of tying a tie, a quick reaction shot, or hand gesture enriches the texture of a characterization. His recent films (The Fighter) have taken noteworthy, acting ensembles and elicited superior, Oscar worthy performances amid strong story lines. Somewhere, directing legends, George Cukor (The Philadelphia Story) and William Wyler (The Best Years of Our Lives), are smiling broadly.
Watching Silver Linings Playbook tonight I got the feeling that the
parts of the film good as they are did not add up to a perfect whole.
Still the film has a lot to recommend it. After all it did get eight
Oscar nominations from last year including one each in all the acting
categories. And an Oscar for Jennifer Lawrence for Best Actress.
Bradley Cooper, nominated for Best Actor plays a husband who just did a stint in a mental hospital for beating the living daylights out of his wife's lover. All three were teachers at the same high school in South Philadelphia and that must have had the faculty and students gossiping for a year.
Jacki Weaver and Robert DeNiro play Cooper's parents and both were nominated in the Supporting players category for both sexes. Weaver had her son released in her custody without telling DeNiro who accepts the situation for peace at home. He's got his own issues, he's a degenerate gambler who drives Weaver to wit's end.
Some friends try to fix up Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence on the theory that two volatile people could help heal each other. Lawrence's issues stem from the death of her husband a Philadelphia cop. Although there is an attraction for them, both their joint volatility and Cooper's refusal to give up trying to win back his wife are obstacles.
All those things plus DeNiro's gambling habit combine in one interesting climax where the growing relationship of Cooper and Lawrence plus DeNiro's finances are on the line. I dare not say more.
Some nice location cinematography also distinguishes Silver Linings Playbook. Having visited Philadelphia a few times I recognized quite a bit of it. We get to see quite a bit of South Philadelphia where it seems everyone knows everyone and everyone's business.
Both Cooper and Lawrence come across as decent and three dimensional people trying to cope as best they can with mental illness. Lawrence just lights up the screen with her performance. I didn't see the other nominated roles, but they would have had to go some to beat her out for the Oscar and apparently didn't.
My main criticism of an otherwise fine film is that I see no silver linings for either main character. They'll have to do a lot to make the relationship work if they can.
Still Silver Linings Playbook is a wonderful film deservedly honored with all those nominations and Jennifer Lawrence's Oscar.
Among the new releases over this holiday season was quirky comedy/drama
Silver Linings Playbook. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and
Robert DiNero, the offbeat comedy has swept this year's awards with
major nominations for Oscars and Golden Globes; it even managed to snag
a best lead actress globe for Jennifer Lawrence at last week's
ceremony. The story centers on Pat (Cooper), a teacher who has to move
back in with his parents after a stint in a mental institution, Pat
suffers from bipolar disorder and is trying to get his life back on
track by getting fit and reconciling with his wife, but like any good
comedy, this does not go to plan. Pat's football obsessed family want
to help him get his life together, but once he meets young widow
Tiffany (Lawrence), things start to go awry. Tiffany offers to help Pat
reconnect with his wife, but in return she asks him to be her partner
in a local dancing competition.
Silver Linings Playbook had the potential to be your regular romcom, but thanks to its somewhat controversial theme and excellent casting, it effortlessly avoids this. Instead, viewers are treated to character driven plot that is filled out with a mix of tense and hilariously awkward scenes that make the film incredibly enjoyable. The ending is the only predictable aspect of the film, but it's a satisfying one as the characters you were rooting for get what they deserve.
From the get go, Silver Linings Playbook is clever, engaging and heart- warming, both Cooper and Lawrence give outstanding performances that make their characters not just likable, but believable too, and an all- star supporting cast including Robert DiNero, Jacki Weaver and Chris Tucker give the story more layers. A film about mental illness, dancing and American football might sound slightly strange, but it's the strangeness of this film that makes it so good, and a shoe in for at least one Oscar this year.
I don't see how people can say this movie is overrated. It has great casting and even better acting, especially from, I believe, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro. This is a romcom at its core but all the extra details that encircle it hides its genre until the very end when it all comes together. It was an emotional thrill ride and definitely a film to be remembered. The relationships between the characters felt real and the audience could connect with them unlike in any other movie I have seen before. I sat silently watching this for the whole duration, I was completely immersed and compelled. In conclusion, this film was near perfect and deserved the stellar reviews. I accept others may have their own opinion but in the eyes of many this film is truly polished to perfection.
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