Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

silverliningsplaybook_2012_poster
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
  • Time: 122 min
  • Genre: Comedy | Drama | Romance
  • Director: David O. Russell
  • Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro

Storyline:

Life doesn’t always go according to plan. Pat Solatano has lost everything – his house, his job, and his wife. He now finds himself living back with his mother and father after spending eight months in a state institution on a plea bargain. Pat is determined to rebuild his life, remain positive and reunite with his wife, despite the challenging circumstances of their separation. All Pat’s parents want is for him to get back on his feet – and to share their family’s obsession with the Philadelphia Eagles football team. When Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own, things get complicated. Tiffany offers to help Pat reconnect with his wife, but only if he’ll do something very important for her in return. As their deal plays out, an unexpected bond begins to form between them, and silver linings appear in both of their lives.

3 reviews

  • Different feelings about this movie. I’ve read a lot of good reviews about “Silver Linings Playbook”, so my expectations were very high, maybe a little too much. I can say it’s a beautiful story, altough there are also some boring pieces and some of the conversations are going pretty fast. But in general it’s worth watching! What I really liked in this movie were the acting performances! Robert De Niro is always great, but especially Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence were doing a wonderful job!
    If you’re expecting a fantastic movie, one of the best ever (what I already heard), maybe you will be disappointed. It’s just a very good drama-romance with a nice story and great actors!

  • Pat Solitano is an interesting man. The audience meets him just as he is being released from a mental institution after serving his time for assaulting the man who was sleeping with his wife. Though he remains aware of his problem, he refuses to take his prescribed medication, and he struggles through his time on the screen. With a mind disillusioned with the idea that his wife who left him still loves him, and that he just needs to talk to her, Pat is visibly incompetent of letting his past mistakes go. Although his parents do their best to point him in the right direction, he insists on trying to go back in time. When he meets Tiffany, he finds someone who he can use to send written letters to his ex-wife. As time goes on, however, he begins to realize that his past life isn’t important, and that the present (Tiffany) is what he should pay attention to.
    Tiffany is troubled in her own way. Her husband was killed from a fatal car crash, and she hasn’t been the same since. Looking for some form of solace and acceptance, she became, shall we say, a loose girl. She has made herself a vulnerable object, and she is desperate for a way out. Once she meets Pat, she finds someone who is suffering in his own way. Though at first their personalities clash, they soon find that the other is exactly what the other needs to go through life.
    Pat Sr. is a diehard Philadelphia Eagles fan, or at least that’s what he is on the surface. With dreams of a restaurant of his own and his savings on the line, the older man has become very frenzied with the success of his favorite football team. Although he denies that superstition has become a part of his game-viewing routine, he has exceeded the label of a “crazed fan”. Although it does not initially come out, he truly cares for his son, and he soon puts his entire faith in his son’s ambitions.

    My Thoughts
    This is a film about people. Though the plot itself is somewhat basic, it is the people that flow through it that make it the great film that it is. On multiple occasions, director David O. Russell has been quoted as saying that he doesn’t care how the script works out, just as long as the characters are presented in a manner that conveys the script’s message(s). Though he had a relative success in Three Kings (1999), the director finally hit the big time following the back-to-back successes with The Fighter (2010) and Silver Linings Playbook. Like many other directors, Russell frequently works with the same handful of actors, and this grouping is quite an impressive bunch. Though he has just begun an undoubtedly promising career, the director has repeatedly worked with Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, and Robert De Niro. If he can keep being at the helm of gem like he has done so far, I cannot see how he cannot join the ranks of the best directorial careers in cinematic history.
    The acting across the entire cast in this film is one of the best I’ve seen in a while. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are both brilliant in their portrayal of the complex Pat and Tiffany, and Robert De Niro delivers a performance that does not take over the movie, but it fits perfectly into the supporting aspects of the film.
    This film received quite a bit of critical attention, and it was nominated for 8 Oscars: Picture, Best Actor for Cooper, Best Actress for Lawrence, Best Supporting Actor for De Niro, Best Supporting Actress for Jacki Weaver, Adapted Screenplay, Directing, and Film Editing. Although the lone win was for Jennifer Lawrence, I found Cooper’s and De Niro’s performances to be very notable. I attribute this large amount of losses to the fact that this particular year in cinema featured a large amount of great films that were based on historical events, particularly Lincoln and Argo. Based on the mission to save Americans stuck in the Iran Hostage Crisis, Argo took home Best Picture, and as for Best Actor category, Daniel Day-Lewis took home the award for his performance in Lincoln. Though I mean this as a joke, it could also be a true statement; who isn’t going to vote for Abraham Lincoln?
    I think that this film brings to the screen a great collection of characters, and I recommend this film for that same reason. Now I must warn you, the language is quite bad. Though the F-words do fly, they fly with purpose. Contrary to some films where curses are used as frequent as punctuation, this film only uses vulgarity when it is necessary to portray strong emotions and feelings.
    This is a film where you have to stay focused in order to acquire the full experience. Though it may be slow at times, it is the characters that drive this film, not the plot.

    Score: 9/10
    Comments: A bit slow at times, and I have trouble accepting the fact that Pat Sr. would bet on his son’s dance performance. I understand that this shows that he is caring for his son and what his son wants, but I found this a little too cliché for such a great movie otherwise.

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  • “This is what I believe to be true…you have to do everything you can, you have to work your hardest. If you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining.”

    Life doesn’t always go according to plan. I think we can all relate to that at least. It’s only when you hit rock bottom that you realize your only option is to be positive. For Pat and Tiffany, the mantra of finding a silver lining is their connecting bond of surviving their unconventional setbacks.

    Silver Linings Playbook has all the qualifications to be the quirkiest film of the year on the exterior, and the most emotionally accessible on its inner core. The buzz surrounding this indie sparked during the Toronto International Film Festival when it won the People’s Choice Award, pushing Argo to runner-up. Since then, critics have become polarized by the unforeseen quirky film that juggles family, love, mental illness and every day strife so effervescently.

    David O. Russell is no stranger to directing unusual flicks. With the exception of 2010’s commercially successful The Fighter, his resume consists of underground indie movies such as Flirting With Disaster, Three Kings and I Heart Huckabees. Silver Linings is no exception… an unconventional route at exposing mental illness and the strange bonds people form are not the ingredients of a typical Hollywood romantic comedy.

    The film follows Pat (Bradley Cooper), a recently diagnosed patient with bipolar disorder who spends eight months in a mental facility after assaulting his wife’s lover. With the court’s permission, Pat is released into the custody of his parents (Robert de Niro and Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom) and moves back home to regroup. A change in tempo shakes Pat’s core when he’s introduced to Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a recently widowed woman coping with depression after the loss of her husband. Her blunt, unpredictable behavior proves to be an unexpected surprise to Pat. Tiffany agrees to help Pat reconnect with his ex-wife by delivering a letter to her if Pat agrees to be her dance partner in an upcoming competition.

    Here is where the mental anguish, extreme denial and delusions of grandeur begin. Pat believes that if he becomes physically fit and knowledgeable of his ex-wife’s (an English teacher) reading curriculum, he’ll find inner peace through personal work and therapy, and win his old life back. His father’s attempts to shake reality back into his head by directly telling him that she left, she’s not coming back don’t resonate with Pat.

    The film is a character piece focusing on the power of reinvention. My only qualm is that I felt the characters of Pat and Tiffany needed to be beefed up more for a full character analysis. As many other critics have penned, there wasn’t enough about them that made me really care about their problems.

    But the supporting cast helps fill this minor void. Robert de Niro and Chris Tucker, who plays Pat’s friend from his stint in the mental institution, have formulated their own comeback tours with this film.

    After a slew of unmemorable sequels to Meet the Parents and underground indie projects, de Niro proves that he’s still the man of Hollywood in this supporting role, which earned him the Audience Award at the Toronto International Film Festival.

    As Pat’s friend from the “looney bin,” Danny (Chris Tucker) is another gem to this film’s greatness of supporting characters—Tucker’s humor is not only subtle and appropriate, but it’s the smartest career shift he’s taken in a decade. No sarcastic quips, gun fights, or chase scenes. If Chris Tucker’s minor role in this movie isn’t a career comeback, I don’t know what is.

    Every movie has a purpose, and there’s never going to be a fully unified audience of pleased critics. My hope, especially with a film like this, is that the audience might focus less on the minor aggravations and worry more about the bigger picture, the theme, what does make you happy about the film.

    Mental illness and life in general are both idiosyncratic and strange. Real-life mental illnesses vary, and the ones that are more serious and debilitating shouldn’t be reduced to what critics consider mentally ill or nutty. The fact that Silver Linings showcases two people who appear normal, but suffer in their “wacky” minds of delusions and depression is the most relatable exposé on coping with mental illness in the 21st century. Not all films tackling serious issues need to be accompanied by a box of Kleenex and a heart-wrenching ending. This is the most uplifting film I’ve seen all year. Pat’s character is a beacon of hope that there can be positive outcomes if you keep focused on what’s important, and know that not everything can be fixed on your own. It’s okay, sometimes movies can have happy endings, because that’s what we all hope for in our own life, right?

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