Brian’s Review – “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012)

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What’s it About?

After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.

“Silver Linings Playbook”

Directed by  David O. Russell

9 out of 10

By Brian

Holy Shit! Bradley Cooper can act! I honestly had no idea. Everything I’ve ever seen him in prior to this movie, he’s always delivered a minimalist performance where he seems to be doing little more than acting like himself. But, here he delivers a nuanced and fleshed out character that isn’t just interesting, but funny and touching as well. Honestly, all the acting in this film is fantastic. Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Jacki Weaver are all top notch and make the film work but I knew THEY could act. Cooper caught me a bit off guard.

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As I’m sure you’ve read from the above synopsis, this is a film about mental illness and the long term effects it can have on life, love, and finding your place in the world. As generalized as that description can sound, it describes the experience of watching the film perfectly. David O. Russell does his best work since Three Kings here. He has always been a visionary director that uses interesting characters to help round out a detailed and oft-kilter world.

But, here is a film that is more about emotion than rational thought. Cooper, De Niro, and Lawrence all have their mental illness vices. De Niro is obsessive compulsive, Lawrence lost her husband and has thrown herself to any man sexually who will make her forget her pain, and Cooper has constant fits of rage stemming all the way back to an incident where his wife was unfaithful. Each of them is looking for their own “Silver Lining.”

That makes for an interesting premise and certainly Russell is adept at weaving the tale but it’s the interaction between the characters that makes this film special, particularly the believable chemistry between Lawrence and Cooper. Their relationship builds over the course of the movie, not from some lame chance meeting like all of the predictable romantic comedies. They have very little in common except for one thing: they both have no filter between their brains and their mouths. This makes for some funny and unpredictable dialogue that is completely original.

I’ll admit that this may not be everyone’s cup of tea. A lot of film goers like their neat and tidy films that ride off into the sunset. While this film is far from a negative experience, it doesn’t dare to think that these people are cured. It just lets them find their “Silver Lining” within their imperfect existence.

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22 comments

  1. Great review. And totally agreed. This is a terrific film, and Cooper is outstanding. (He’s just as good in American Hustle, by the way.)

    I saw around 90 movies in 2012. This one was my favorite, though not necessarily the best.

    • Glad you liked Brian’s review! I haven’t seen American Hustle but my wife said it was decent. Looking forward to SLP, though. It’s one title that I never caught up with.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Yeah, I’ve read that the ending was a bit off in some other reviews. I hope to have some time to finally watch this movie, though.

      Glad you liked the movie and Brian’s review. Thanks for stopping in!

  2. Good review Brian. Loved this movie for many reasons, and not just because it was filmed practically right outside of my house. Okay, maybe that’s one of them, but it’s not the sole reason!

    • Glad you liked Brian’s review, Dan. That is very cool they shot the film in your hometown. I was very stoked, myself, when they shot The Amazing Spider-man 2 here in Downtown Rochester.

      They stored the stunt vehicles right across from my wife’s job and I snapped off some pics of The Daily Bugle van and the Oscorp Armored Truck. Plus some shooting that went on with the stunt crew.

      Thanks for stopping in and checking out the post, man. Much appreciated!

  3. Another solid review. This is also another film that I fell in the minority on. I thought it was a good movie but not the rock solid piece of cinema that most did. And the ridiculous, conventional ending just threw me for a loop.

    But again, I think I was the only person in North America that felt this way. I still gave it 3.5 stars. I certainly didn’t hate it.

    • Oh that ending. I’ve read a few reviews that reflected some disdain for the ending. I have yet to watch SLP myself, but going in, I hope the conclusion won’t completely go off the rails for me. We’ll see.

      Thanks for checking out Brian’s review, Keith. I appreciate you stopping by!

    • I hope you enjoy it, Bill. I have a copy of this movie but never got around to it. Hope to see it soon, though.

      Glad you enjoyed Brian’s write up, man! I appreciate you swinging by!

  4. Love your last few lines about this. You’re exactly right. This movie doesn’t in a neat little bow, but life rarely does and it’s captured beautifully here. Great Review man. Loved the movie and your writeup.

    • Many are kind of split regarding that ending, no? I’m really looking forward to this movie, now. I have a copy but I haven’t had the time to finally sit down and watch it.

      I’m glad you stopped in and read Brian’s review. I appreciate it, Shah! Thanks.

      • Yea most like the nice tidy ending. I prefer an open ended ambiguous one. Especially in a movie like this where the conflict wont be resolved in the final scene. Mental illness and all.

  5. Great review! I loved this movie.

    Bradley Cooper is really an excellent actor, if you haven’t seen it you should check out The Words. It is a pretty under-appreciated movie and it had another great performance from Cooper!

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