Silver Linings Playbook
Starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence
Directed by David O. Russell, based on the book by Matthew Quick
IMDB Rating: 7.9
A film that floats happily on the silver lining it loves to preach – very happy-go-lucky, but also a beautiful and moving romance.
After getting out of a mental institute early, to the liability of her mother, Pat (Cooper) tries to repair his broken marriage with his ex-wife. On the road to redemption she meets Tiffany (Lawrence), a widow with her own problems but also with links to Pat’s ex-wife. Seeing it as a way back to his wife, Pat develops a relationship with Tiffany.
First of all, this is a good film. The relationship between the two leads isn’t necessarily as beautiful as in other romances but you know there’s something there, and that is sweet to watch. The fact that they both try to look at all the positives in life is also quite refreshing. However, I’m not a huge fan of the way the film almost seems to sit on its high horse. It has enough feel-good quotes to sink a ship, and spends most of the first hour chucking them down your throat to the point of suffocation. Sure it’s good to preach all these things, and the world would probably be a better place if that happened more often, it just makes their world seem a bit fake. The film tries to be funny in places, but I don’t think it’s funny enough times to be classed as a rom-com – and I don’t think Silver Linings wants to be.
It probably goes without saying, but the best performance definitely belongs to Jennifer Lawrence. Now, I’m not an expert as to what should constitute an Oscar winning performance, but this is an exceptional performance of Tiffany Maxwell – the beautiful, sex-crazed widow who is seemingly looked down upon by everyone. Tiffany is, especially early on, a dark and scary character for Pat to get involved with – and Lawrence perfectly portrays that. Also, as the film develops and her walls start to crumble her more emotional and vulnerable side comes out, something I think Lawrence has excelled at portraying throughout her career. It also goes without saying that her incredibly good looks in this film probably didn’t hinder her performance! Bradley Cooper is also strong in this film, cleverly portraying the positivity-obsessed, bi-polar Pat Solitano’s mood swings and anger issues. He does later on in the film become the same stereotypical person he plays in the majority of his films, but that’s excusable.
Some of the shots by David O. Russell are very good. He knows how to use the camera and the music and the setting to portray emotions – there’s many different scenes in the film where no words are needed, the shots and ambience say everything. At the end of the film it says ‘Screenplay written by David O. Russell’, however most of the dialogue sounds more at home in a novel – probably in the novel Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick. It would be interesting to see how much new material O. Russell added to the original book, but personally, I don’t expect it’s much.
All in all, a very nice romantic film with two leads that are weird yet beautiful. It is well shot, well performed and just a bit over-the-top on feel good speeches. I think fans of Katniss Everdeen will love this film!
Seen Silver Linings Playbook? Tell us what you thought!