When Pat (Bradley Cooper) returns home from a mental institution looking to get back together with his wife after catching her cheating on him with another man, (sending him into crazy mode and leading him into the aforementioned hospital), he is blindsided by Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) who is also chock full of her own personal issues. Through a course of events the two of them work together to make Pat’s bipolar disorder get under control, along with Tiffany exploiting her true life’s passion.
I would consider Silver Linings Playbook to be a borderline dark comedy. There are huge psychological issues at play here, but the timing of Cooper’s reactions to things can either be utterly hysterical or severely dramatic. In my eyes, that’s playing a patient who is diagnosed with bipolar disorder perfectly so Cooper nails it. I’m glad to see that the actor has grown beyond the “frat boy” persona he held earlier in his career and is churning out such dynamic roles. He has a great family chemistry with Robert DeNiro, who plays Cooper’s football superstitious father. DeNiro’s character believes that Pat sticking around for games will bring his beloved Philadelphia Eagles good luck, but Pat constantly leaving to go for a jog or to spend time with Tiffany builds the escalating tension between him and his father.
Speaking of Tiffany, Jennifer Lawrence is fantastic here. Her storyline (becoming a recent widow) pushes the pressure on Lawrence to meet Cooper’s psychological stuff with some of her own, and the two play well against each other. Lawrence stretches her dramatic chops here two and there’s no doubt about it why she won that Oscar for Winter’s Bone a few years back. Wouldn’t be surprised if her or Cooper got a nomination.
Rounding out the cast, Chris Tucker makes an appearance as a mental patient who bonds with Pat and keeps leaving the institution only to be brought back time and time again. Tucker plays it mostly straight and it was a really good turn by him. I’d like to see him in more stuff like this.
My only big complaint is that the movie drags in some areas, and of course being a New York Giants fan (along with my company), it made the movie a little bit harder to watch, what with all this Philadelphia Eagles garbage. Haha, just kidding. But no, not really.
2012 has been a dynamite year for movies and Silver Linings Playbook is just another one to chuck into that pile. Award buzz might be happening for it, as the cast is stellar and everyone owns. It’s perfect for a sports fan, for a date movie, and for a few solid laughs, as well as for those seeking dramatic fare as well. Good stuff all around.