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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.
Truly awful, I felt cheated once the film ended that I actually wasted
my time watching it. The whole time I was waiting for the film to hit
me with a twist or something exciting, but it was totally predictable.
My husband loves a good romantic film..but he couldn't even sit through
No real chemistry between Bradley and Jennifer, shame when they are meant to be portraying two people in love.
No real story line, lightly touches on mental health, but no real explanation or focus on it.
Plus you predict the story in the beginning! Honestly don't waste your time. Disappointing! No idea how it won an Oscar!!
David O. Russell's 'Silver Linings Playbook' is ultimately a disappointing film: an unconvincing portrayal of mental illness and family dysfunction, with a weak romantic comedy subplot and an utterly meaningless second subplot featuring a dance competition. The central characters are not particularly sympathetic either: if they don't convince as mentally ill, they do convince as utterly self-obsessed - the attraction that the two leads supposedly feel for each other is asserted but in no way demonstrated. It's unclear what Russell was trying to do in this movie; but it's not funny, and nothing in it feels like it comes from the heart.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The film 'Silver Linings Playbook' undoubtedly had flaws in its
depiction of mental illness, though there were portions of the various
illnesses that the creator set out to depict that were very well done.
While I am no expert, the manic phases that Pat went through were quite accurate and upon speaking to people with more personal experience with bipolar than myself, they said that those parts felt very familiar. On the other hand, there was no substantial mention of depressive phases, Pat instead went between Angry (a form of mania) and Energetic (another form of mania). Also, while the depression that Tiffany went through in the past sounded very typical, during the time frame of the film there was nothing to suggest that she was any more than a moody young person. Danny, in the short snippets of the film that he featured, did a fairly good job of portraying OCD and given more time on screen he could perhaps have been the most accurate representation of someone who was going through a mental illness. It seemed that Silver Linings Playbook was half way there in their portrayal of mental illness, simultaneously displaying and completely avoiding aspects of life with a mental illness so for that it deserves a 5 out of 10.
Silver Linings Playbook is one of those movies that explore mental
conditions. For some reason, these movies have more weight than "other"
movies and are usually used to prove actors abilities. And this is
exactly what happened here.
The main characters were portrayed by Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. They both deliver fine performance, yet not very memorable, as critics in awe would like us to believe. For example, Bradley Cooper running around wearing a plastic bag presumably actually happened in real life cases, but didn't work out for me.
The plot might have been realistic, yet it simply failed to engage me. Despite all this, Silver Linings Playbook is not a bad movie, it rather hasn't been exceptionally good.
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Very so-so la-la. The acting isn't bad, it's not good either though.
Two celebrities who are getting a lot of coverage in the media. Sure
there's a funny moment here or there, with a dash of drama, a sprinkle
of romance and a moderate portion of the fairly normal boy - meets -
girl - does - not - want - girl - but - then - does - want - girl - but
- has - he - lost - girl - or - can - he - have - girl and that's about
It's nothing short of the usual and I guess what makes it good, is that it isn't utterly bad. A when harry met sally it is not, but a serious take on one or two story lines in American Pie and potentially suicidal brother from Little Miss Sunshine it is.
If you don't watch a lot of movies...skip this one. If you're going to watch a movie irrespective of whether you will find one that interests your or not...then watch this, you will surely find something to like about the movie.
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