Silver Linings Playbook Review
December 24, 2012
With an indie trailer and a promising soundtrack, I was bound to leave Silver Linings Playbook on a high. Jennifer Lawrence's brilliance only added to this high.
Even though The Hunger Games really put her on the map, Jennifer Lawrence has been wowing audiences and critics alike since her role as Ree in Winter’s Bone back in 2010. Since then, she’s been a young Mystique in X-Men: First Class, and Anton Yelchin’s love interests in Like Crazy and The Beaver. Despite this already impressive back catalogue, her performance as Tiffany in David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook is her best yet.
Pat (Bradley Cooper) has lost everything: his house; his job; and his wife. After spending eight months institutionalised, he moves back home with his parents (Jacki Weaver and Robert De Niro). Determined to get his life on track, Pat remains positive and hopeful that he will get back together with his wife, despite the circumstances that lead to their separation. When he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a girl with a tragic past and problems of her own, events take an unexpected turn. Offering to help Pat reconnect with his estranged wife; Tiffany asks for only one thing in return: that he be her dance partner in an upcoming competition.
Like many films that have come out recently, both the casting and script for Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook is fantastic. Bradley Cooper is surprisingly superb in a difficult role; Lawrence is just as wonderful, enchanting and beautiful as ever. The impressive cast all boast perfect performances, with some of the most realistic, affecting portrayals of mental illness in cinema; much better than Dunst’s in von Trier’s Melancholia. The honesty in Silver Linings Playbook is one of the most endearing elements, proving that mental illness touches every one in one way or another: be it through acute obsessive compulsive disorder (displayed through Pat Senior’s pre-game rituals), manic depression (Pat) or a hinted history of sex addiction (Tiffany).
Silver Linings Playbook is one of the most memorable, touching and honest films of 2012, if a little predictable. A refreshing, yet realistic, take on the classic rom-com; the movie injects much needed life into a tired genre. It certainly made me laugh more than many of the most celebrated comedies this year. The tenderhearted tale of these wounded souls is serious and mature without being stuffy, depressing or boring; there are more than enough lighthearted moments to lift even the darkest of plot threads. And of course, there is indeed a silver lining at the end of this film, but fear not: it’s without the saccharine sweetness so often associated with others of its genre.