Silver Linings Playbook is soulful and sincere


Pat (Bradley Cooper) agrees to compete in a dance competition with Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) in exchange for a shady favor. In Silver Linings Playbook, Pat befriends Tiffany and forms a relationship, as he becomes a more positive person.

Victor Dos Santos, Assistant A&E Editor

Director David O’Russell’s filmography suggests that he is familiar with stories that focus on the most unordinary people.  However, no matter how odd the character, O’Russell manages to make them come across as both realistic and heartfelt.  Adapted from the novel by Matthew Quick, Silver Linings Playbook tells the story of a couple of dysfunctional people who, despite their neurotic and violent tendencies, are as charming and entertaining as ever.

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence play Pat Solatino and the mysterious Tiffany.  Cooper plays Pat, a former substitute teacher who was recently released from a mental hospital after violently assaulting another faculty member for sleeping with his wife.  Obsessed with straightening up and winning his wife back, Pat  struggles to find a way to cope with reality.  He eventually befriends Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a recently widowed and unemployed woman, whose depression resonates with Pat.  The two come to realize that by being crazy together, they can help each other out and be slightly-less-crazy.

O’Russell presents the various high-strung characters in this film in a way that makes them both sympathetic, entertaining, and even charming.  The film’s quirk and charm emphasizes the craziness within every character in this movie, including Cooper’s football aficionado, obssessive-compulsive father played by Robert De Niro.  That’s not to say however, that whenever a character does something out of the ordinary the film shifts to a comedic romp.  At times the mental disorders these characters share, ranging from depression to bi-polar disorder, feel more like impediments than assets that add depth to the characters.  It’s that sense of realism brought to Silver Linings that helps make it feel all the more genuine in its attempt at telling Pat’s story.  Seeing how he is able to balance out the crazy in his life through his relationship with Tiffany makes Silver Linings one of the most heartwarming films to come out this year.

The film is not without its flaws, it does feel as though it ends with one too many loose ends, and, unsurprsingly, Lawrence and Cooper’s characters get together towards the end of the film.  It feels very unlikely that a loving relationship would completely rid oneself of a mental illness, as is the case with De Niro’s character and his wife played by Jackie Weaver.  Chances are, you won’t be all too bothered by the fact that everything ends in a pretty happy-go-lucky manner for the majority, if not all, of these characters.

It’s as well made as a film can be, tying together themes dealing with mental disorder, football, and heartbreak with terrific performances and very well developed characters.  Silver Linings Playbook deserves credit simply for being a romantic comedy that is bold enough to present characters who are heavily flawed.  It is interesting to see the ways in which they can form a mutually beneficial and loving relationship and make the audience care so much about seeing it work.  It’s a true testament to just how well written and directed this movie was.  The real silver lining here is knowing that movies like this are being made.