Silver Linings Playbook (2012) Poster

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9/10
Stunningly accurate look at the bipolar life.
AdultAudienceMember29 December 2012
I am bi-polar. I have been that way since I was a young man. I am approaching 60. I have been in treatment for many years. There have been relapses and time spent in hospitals. There have been good times. Before I received good treated, I left a trail of emotional, professional, and relational disaster behind me. It broke apart the lives of others as much as it did my own.

I did not know what to expect from this movie. It is a stunningly accurate trip into the mind of a BP sufferer. It shows the disease from the outside, too. It is amazing in its accuracy. The mood swings, the detachment from reality, the failure to learn from past errors are there. Here is a guy who has so messed up he is in the hospital. He is released into the custody of his parents. He improves himself physically yet cannot see what he has done, what he is now, and what the future portends with any sort of reality.

There are other situations in the film which mirror the BP life. There are job losses, broken relationships, unlimited optimism, anger, and a feeling that no one understands you. But he doesn't even understand himself. He thinks he is the only sane person around. He is in complete denial yet goes along with treatment just to get along with others.

The obsession with his estranged wife drives him. Everything he does is to make himself look desirable to her.

Then there is the hair trigger and the propensity toward violence which ultimately put him into the hospital. He has the belief that he sees with much more clarity than anyone else. There is also the hatred of medications and the belief that he doesn't need them.

Yet, there is hope. There is no miraculous cure. There is a negotiated peace between his illness and the way he must be to survive in the world.

The only thing I felt was missing was the crushing depression. But I understand that. Depression makes for lousy movies. The film is strictly about a manic life that wants to be better but cannot accept that he is badly off dead center normal.

If you are bi-polar and under control, see this film! If you live with or deal with a BP, see this movie. If you are untreated, you won't get it because BP clouds the mind.

My new wife and I went to see it. Up front I told her that I had this mental illness. She still married me. She is a health care worker with an understanding of illness and of treatment. After the film she asked me what I thought.

I told her that I was a bit frightened to tell her that the portrayal is spot on and that I had seen all of it before.

But like all bipolar sufferers, I wanted her to know that "I was never that bad." The truth is, I was....but we BP people don't handle reality all that well.
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8/10
Excelsior Strategy
David Ferguson24 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Greetings again from the darkness. The film is exactly what you would expect from a screwball romantic comedy steeped in drama based on bipolar disorder, depression, OCD, Philadelphia Eagles fanatics, a ballroom dancing contest, adultery, Hemingway, and a lead character who jogs while wearing a trash bag. Maybe not exactly what you would expect, but more likely much more.

If you were told instead that the story is based on two damaged souls who help heal each other through dancing, you would have every reason to skip this one. However, as written and directed by David O Russell (The Fighter) and based on Matthew Quick's novel, this story is a frenetic, emotional roller coaster ride that provides a glimmer of hope for the two damaged lead characters, while reminding that each of us may be a bit off-center in some way. Now add in the best young actress working today (Jennifer Lawrence just turned 22), a rare performance from Robert DeNiro where he seems fully engaged, a pulling back the curtain on Bradley Cooper as much more than a pretty face, and one of the best and most precise soundtracks in recent history ... now you have one of the best films of the year.

What you notice very early on is that what could be considered a trite story line, is instead pounding you with sharp, witty dialogue that pulls no punches in directness. The many aspects of family and emotional support are given time thanks to Pat (Bradley Cooper) being released after 8 months in a mental institution. He was sent there when he snapped after finding his wife in a compromising position with another man. Perfectly understandable if you ask me, but clearly he is the explosive one despite his claims to the contrary. An uncomfortable dinner party introduces him to Tiffany (Ms. Lawrence) whose husband has recently died and her coping skills have been shared with most of those in her workplace. This odd couple spark immediately and the wild ride begins.

Pat's wife Nikki (Brea Bee) has issued a restraining order and Pat's strategy to win her back involves a positive attitude and maintaining control of his emotions. His supporters include his mother (Jacki Weaver, who was so great in Animal Kingdom), his OCD father (DeNiro) who so wants to re-connect with his son, his friend (John Ortiz) whose own marriage (to icy Julia Stiles) is a messy mess, his buddy from the asylum (a funny and not over the top Chris Tucker), and of course, Tiffany. The only real problem is that each of these supporters are teetering in their own way just like Pat.

The brilliance of this movie is the balance struck between the near violent emotional outbursts and the sharp, exacting words spouted by each of the characters. Director Russell once again shows his flair for working class northeasterners. He understands these tough as nails people who wear their emotions on their sleeves. These people are as likely to punch you as hug you ... and both are acts of love.

The soundtrack deserves special mention. It is very unique and varied, with each song serving an exact purpose. Especially keen are Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie Amour", Led Zeppelin's "What is and What Should Be", and "The Girl from the North Country" a Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash duet. When the music strikes a harmony with the scene, the movie is all the stronger. Rarely do we get the perfect storm of script, direction, acting, music and relevance.
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8/10
Silver Linings Playbook is a refreshing addition to the rom com genre
Josh Cummings1 November 2012
While most romantic comedies usually contain bad acting, sappiness, and a large amount of predictable moments; Silver Linings Playbook is the exact opposite. There may be a little amount sappiness in this movie but there is bound to be some in any romantic situations. In reality though, all of the sap in Silver Linings Playbook can be overlooked due to the fact that the film is completely original, extremely funny, and contains outstanding acting from the two lead roles.

Written and directed by David O. Russell (The Fighter), Silver Linings Playbook is about a man, played by Bradley Cooper (Limitless, The Hangover), who was just released from an eight month stint in a psychiatric hospital. He wants to get his life back on track but is being held back by his parents and his unstable condition. After a little while, he strikes up an interesting friendship with a female played by Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone, The Hunger Games). Both of these characters are going through somewhat of the same type of problems which makes their friendship even more quirky and thought-provoking.

Because a large amount of romantic comedies are stale and overdone, Silver Linings Playbook is a breath of fresh air. Usually movies in this genre follow a very particular road map that entails: man is at rock bottom but then finds the perfect girl. After a while, man loses girl and must win girl back in a very cliché and unrealistic fashion. What's original about Silver Linings Playbook is that it doesn't follow that mediocre story line in the slightest making it unpredictable but at the same time, more relateable. Chris Tucker is in this movie and even he isn't predictable. Chris Tucker, the loud-mouthed actor who hasn't been in a film without the words 'Rush Hour' in the title for almost 15 years, was surprisingly mellow. Even though he was mellow, he was still very comedic and played a great role in the film.

The most surprising aspect of Silver Linings Playbook, however, was the performance of Bradley Cooper. Even though this is a comedy, Cooper plays what is maybe one of the most serious roles he's ever performed. After audience members witness his work in this film, there shouldn't be any more doubt if the man can act or not. Silver Linings Playbook is without a doubt Cooper's best work thus far in his career. Jennifer Lawrence has a performance of equal caliber but that is expected from the young Academy Award nominated actress. What was surprising about Lawrence's role in the movie, was how adult it was. Fans of Lawrence's work may have been worried that she would be stuck in teenage roles after playing the character Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, but she should silence those doubts after this film with a very adult, yet professional, performance.

Silver Linings Playbook is full of creativity and minimal on romance clichés. It is hands down one of the best romantic comedies to be made within the last couple of years. This film contains many laugh out loud moments and a number of scenes that will warm your heart to the point where you can't help but leave the theater smiling. Silver Linings Playbook is the perfect date movie that both men and women can easily enjoy. A-
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10/10
So very much more than meets the eye
Nuss18 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
At first glance, you would think this movie would be just another generic Katherine Heiglesque rom-com that dominates the box office and empties your soul. But classifying it as such is like saying Jaws was a nice little fishing movie. It's so very much more and what makes it all the more wonderful is that it comes as such a pleasant surprise.

I mean, seriously, who would have thought that Bradley Cooper could convey such angst and heartache? Or that De Niro still had a great performance in him after a decade of caricaturing his old self? And Jennifer Lawrence - just wow. There's so much more to say but best to just let you experience it for yourself.

Watch - this movie's rep will build through terrific word-of-mouth and it'll end up as a modern day classic. This is why you go see movies in the first place.
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3/10
Where was the playbook?
gerngoestocollege21 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I wanted to like this movie, I really did. I had read about the plot and its depiction of mental health issues and I was hoping to see a wonderfully nuanced movie with people fighting to get well. Instead, this movie was clichéd and clumsy. It was a movie without direction, it had no playbook. I'm going to assume that the book has more depth than the director cared to give the characters and that this is just a really poor adaptation to film. The characters are so incredibly flat and one dimensional and not at all a good representation of people with mental health issues. In fact, I think some damage was done here as not all depressed people get manic and destroy things at the drop of a hat or run out and sleep with a bunch of people. They're not all at odds with their doctors. There were just so many bad generalizations in this movie about the mentally ill I can't even list them all. The entire premise makes no sense. Why would you even set two people up who are at those points in their lives? It would be reckless to set up a woman still binging on sex with a man who was obsessed with his wife. I could go on and on. The entire story just didn't work. At all. Aside from the script the film craft was one of the worst I've seen this year! I counted about 5 gaffs in the movie before it was even halfway through. These were not small gaffs but obvious things you'll notice and I'm not sure how the editor missed. In addition to that, the movie just didn't flow well either. The running scenes looking staged and lifeless. He wears a trash bag to work up sweat...but never seems to sweat. He was supposed to be out of shape, but is definitely not out of shape when they show flashbacks. So many gaffs. I'm guessing people were just voting this movie highly because of Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are attractive together. Their performances are OK, but the movie falls apart so thoroughly around them that it's unimaginable why anyone would enjoy this film.
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6/10
So confused as to what about this movie is so amazing
f_mino1216 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This is my 1st review because I had to say something about this movie just to warn others about it since there are so many 10 star reviews. I sincerely do not understand what it is the academy saw in this movie to nominate it for 8... EIGHT Oscars! Are they paying them to nominate the movie?? 1. Bradley Cooper is not convincing as a bipolar patient. When I look at him all I can think of is his character from The Hangover or that he was voted Sexiest Man Alive. 2. Jennifer Lawrence is becoming one of my favorite ladies in Hollywood but she definitely was cast wrong for this part also. She is mean and unlikable and overacts the entire time. Just a lot of yelling and stomping around. 3. The entire movie they just bicker and huff and puff. They aren't cute until the very end and then the movie just ends. 4. There were so many football references and talking over one another that my ears started to hurt. The scenes would drag on with just arguing. 5. The plot was very bland so you aren't really rooting for anyone or excited about what is going to happen next. The script must have been a piece of cake to write because there really isn't anything groundbreaking here. There are hundreds of mental patient movies.
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10/10
Most Enjoyable Film of 2012 So Far
meggz323 October 2012
I don't even know where to begin when it comes to this film. First of all, I think it's about time I profess my love for David O'Russell because he keeps making movies that I simply can't get enough of. If there's one thing I've learned this year when it comes to movies, it's find a director you love and follow him or her blindly. There's styles you'll love, and styles you'll hate, find the ones you click with and never let go.

Silver Linings Playbook has generated a lot of hype since its worldwide premiere at TIFF, and frankly, as far as I'm concerned, it deserves all the praise its received. It is by far the best film I saw at the festival, and is easily one of the most memorable films of 2012. Based on the novel by Matthew Quick, Silver Linings follows the life of Pat (Bradley Cooper) as he moves back into his parents' house after spending months in a mental institution because of a violent outburst that occurred after he found his wife with another man. The movie follows Pat as he attempts to get back his life back, but he meets a new challenge as Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence, who is completely girl crush worthy) finds his way into his life.

I honestly can't remember the last time I enjoyed a movie more from beginning to end. O'Russell brilliantly tells a heartwarming, yet complicated and hilarious tale, that leaves you on the edge of the seat. The cast is wonderful, and all deserving of nominations in the 2012 award season. If people didn't know of Jennifer Lawrence before, they will now. She's quirky, complicated, hilarious, and you really just can't get enough of her. DeNiro also delivers a strong performance as Cooper's Philadelphia Eagle's loving, somewhat OCD father.

If there is one movie worth seeing this year, it's Silver Linings Playbook. The story may follow a family in a very serious situation, but we can all identity with the truth and emotions that comes with struggling through times. It's a story that's easy to connect with, and it's a film that will make you smile from beginning to end. Catch this movie when it comes out in November, and I promise you, you won't regret it.

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2/10
Absurd, Troubling, Grossly Overrated Movie
nolandalla23 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
How do I find a bookie like the idiot played by Robert De Niro, who co- stars in the surprise hit movie Silver Linings Playbook?

Seriously, he's got to be the dumbest bookmaker on the planet. Any real bookie who followed his habits would soon be at an intersection holding up a cardboard sign.

Silver Linings Playbook is unquestionably the most overrated film of the year. How this two-hour bore garnered a whopping eight Oscar nominations isn't so much a testament to this movie's excellence, but rather what a terrible past year this has been for cinema.

The Bradley Cooper character meets the Jennifer Lawrence character at a dinner party and the rest of the movie is pretty much the story of the interplay between the two leads. They spend most of the time fighting and insulting each other, sometimes viciously. But none of this seems to matter. We all know what's going to happen just before the final credits roll.

But predictability is the least of this mess of a movie's numerous problems. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the story is Cooper's obsession with reuniting with his estranged wife. Remember, this man spent eight months locked up behind bars in a mental ward for committing a violent crime. Now, he's free on probation and his sole mission in life to to get back with the ex.

Trouble is, his wife has issued a restraining order against Cooper. That means he's not allowed to visit or call or contact her in any way. Despite this, Cooper ignores the law and goes to great lengths to go after what he wants. Sure. Nothing proves a man's true love like acting the part of a stalker.

For some reason I found baffling, many people seemed to find this endless pursuit to be an endearing quality -- including women. There were plenty of laughs as Cooper tries to establish some sort of contact with his ex, including visiting her place of employment. How charming! I guess being a wacko stalker is okay if you look like Bradley Cooper and were voted 2011's Sexist Man Alive.

The movie takes place in South Philadelphia. Accordingly, we're subjected to all the typical stereotypes you'd expect. The only thing missing was Burt Young as the uncle walking in the door with a sack of sausages.

There are a few nice moments, which were usually tied to the catchy soundtrack. And it's okay to dream and believe in fairly tales. But that doesn't mask the reality that relationships take work. They require sacrifice and commitment from both sides. Yet, we're led to believe that once the boy gets the girl, they'll leave happily ever after. Never mind that they've been screaming at each other for 90 minutes during the entire movie, and haven't agreed on anything. They have virtually nothing in common. Neither has a job or it would seem, much of a future. So, what's going to happen the first time Mrs. Lawrence tells Mr. Cooper to take out the trash? Or, leave the toilet seat down? Is Cooper going to go ballistic again like he did with his first wife?

So, let's get back to that idiot bookie. Remember -- Robert De Niro plays the dad. He lost his job some time ago, so he turned to bookmaking to support his family. Fair enough.

Trouble is, there's not one thing in this movie the least bit convincing he actually works as a bookmaker. On Sundays, the phone never rings. He never has a notebook at his side. Where are all his customers? He never once discusses games or point spreads, other than those involving his beloved Philadelphia Eagles when he's in action. In fact, De Niro is so sickly obsessed with the Eagles, he watches them religiously -- completely oblivious to games one which his livelihood depends. One might think that a bookie based in Philadelphia might have a rooting interest in Eagles' games, and if so -- he's likely want the other side to win (and cover) since most amateur locals tend to bet on their favorite team. But there's De Niro, the ultimate sap.

That said, the most laughable part of the movie comes near the end. I won't give away the final outcome. But De Niro essentially gambles his entire life savings on a single football game. Who does he bet on? You guessed it -- the Philadelphia Eagles.

A few scenes later, De Niro is back at it again. This time, he wants to bet a parlay. He learns that the line on the upcoming Philadelphia- Dallas game is "Eagles -1." De Niro wants to bet on his beloved Eagles so badly, that he offers his business partner and fellow bookie a preposterous wager. He says "I'll give you Dallas plus ten points! The Eagles must win by ten!"

On a game lined at "-1?"

This clown is a bookie?

How can I get in touch with this joker?

To be fair, I saw this movie in Las Vegas -- where sports gambling in commonplace. But the De Niro segment of the movie was so absurd and annoying, that I heard a few catcalls and even some uncontrolled laughter. Not good.

It's a bad sign when the most memorable thing about a movie are its flaws. But alas, those are pretty much the only parts of the film that kept me interested in what was an instantly forgettable and utterly disappointing film.

Silver Linings Playbook has about as much entertainment value as a losing sports book ticket.
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10/10
Incredible, incredible, incredible!
brighteyes530859 October 2012
I saw this at the Hamptons International Film Festival as the Spotlight film and it was one of the best movies I have ever seen. It is so relatable, even if you don't suffer from the same afflictions as the main characters, and its implications are so far-reaching that everyone, I believe, can learn a little something from Pat and Tiffany. The story sends such wonderful messages about finding the "silver lining" and is uplifting, even in the seemingly most dire circumstances. Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper are phenomenal, and I found myself really attached to their characters. This is a must see for everyone! And I will be seeing it again when it hits theaters in November.
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1/10
Overrated, offensive, disturbing. Does not deserve to be in the same sentence as "Oscar."
plinko20041 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Over the past week I believed I had seen the most overrated film currently frontrunning the Oscars this year after viewing "Zero Dark Thirty." And then I discovered this abomination.

There is little to nothing to comment on regarding this film's script or story because when it is boiled down to its roots, it is a trite, cliché bore that has been done many, many times before and far better.

So what makes this movie not a complete copy of many films before it? This film contains a horrific depiction of mental illness that objectifies human beings as caricatures. Cooper's character, who is supposedly the film's primary protagonist, is portrayed in such a disturbing way that an uninformed viewer could not be blamed for thinking that those who are bipolar - a very real illness with very real, good people who suffer from it - are all miserable, violent people who obsess over others to the point of stalking them. His 'character' is then propped up and 'fleshed out' through a collection of tired tropes typically seen in Hollywood's voyeuristic, disrespectful portrayals of those with mental illness.

Avoid this sickening film at all costs, especially if you are someone who suffers from mental illness or are related to someone who does. It handles its subject matter in a way that will disturb you to the point of tears before the movie is even over.
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