A comedy on mental illness may be a debatable pitch for a film, but director David O. Russell nailed it. “Silver Linings Playbook” is riveting from start to finish.
“Silver Linings Playbook” is based on a novel of the same name by Matthew Quick and will be released on DVD on April 30. During the film you’ll witness extreme emotions from fulfilling highs to devastating lows with relieving witticisms sprinkled throughout.
Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) comes home one night to find his wife having an affair. In his fury, Pat snaps, nearly beating her lover to death. His violent crime lands him in a mental institution and separated from his wife.
After spending eight months in the institution, and losing his wife, house and job, Pat is released and forced to live with his parents. Pat’s struggle is heartbreaking as we watch him attempt to control his impetuous behavior.
While living with his parents, you’ll notice Pat’s impulsive illness reflected back at him from his father, Pat Senior. (Robert DeNiro). Pat Sr. is obsessed with the Philadelphia Eagles and his superstitions lie in his son’s attendance. However, Pat is convinced he will find the silver lining and reconnect with his wife through healthy living and positivity. His new lifestyle leaves little room for him to participate in his father’s ritualistic compulsions that come with football games.
It’s almost hard to watch the two head cases until Pat develops an unexpected friendship with Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence). Tiffany, a mysterious widow with problems of her own, makes an agreement to help Pat communicate with his distant wife if he helps her with something important in return: a dance competition.
Determined to reconcile with his wife, Pat eventually pours himself into rehearsing for the dance competition as he sees this as an opportunity to prove himself to his wife. Although they spent hours together practicing, their friendship is manic and violent, yet balanced and sincere from the beginning.
Pat and Tiffany are both deliberately and immediately vocal on whatever comes to mind. Their surprising conversations are hysterical in every form of the word.
Pat is vulnerable and confident, while Tiffany is fragile and tough. Both of them possess self-conflicting character traits that are completely intriguing. Their personalities are unusually complementary to each other leaving viewers frustrated and crushed, but ultimately delighted.
Cooper and Lawrence’s onscreen chemistry is undeniably impeccable. Their thorough attention to character detail produced an honest, charming and comical masterpiece that’s enjoyably unpredictable.