Silver Linings Playbook Review: Truly Crazy, Stupid and Lovely

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Crazy, asinine and totally nuts, Silver Linings Playbook sneaks in just enough heart to make this rom-com a refreshing love story for the ages.

That being said, it doesn’t start out that way. The first act is slow and struggles to establish any sort of connection. It begins with Pat (Bradley Cooper) being taken out of a mental health facility by his mother (Jacki Weaver) and hoping to reignite the flame with his ex-wife.

The script shies away from any true development for Pat throughout a long first act. Cooper doesn’t help as he plays Pat too left of center for us to really feel any resemblance of humanity. Sure, he is dealing with a very real mental illness, but it took to the 45 minutes mark for him to become relatable in spite of his bipolar disorder.

And that happens when he is introduced to Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a blunt, honest woman full of snarky determination to get whatever she wants. Lawrence brings Cooper out of his shell and gives his performance a bit more life. The Hunger Games star still manages to steal the movie from him, but their chemistry really sings.

The film really picks up after their meeting as she convinces him to get his ex-wife’s attention by participating in a dance competition. Meanwhile, his superstitious father (Robert De Niro) wants his son to watch every Philadelphia Eagles game with him for good luck. Pat’s time becomes strained and that is when Cooper really begins to shine.

He and Lawrence are one of the best ons creen couples since When Harry Met Sally‘s Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. It makes the film transcend typical romantic comedy cliches and feel like a genuine romance is building.

Director David O. Russell performed a similar feat with Mark Wahlberg and Amy Adams in The Fighter. Also, just as that film paid tribute to Lowell, Massachusetts, Silver Linings Playbook will perhaps be most appreciated by those who know the Philadelphia area. Especially sports fans.

It is just a sample of the love and care that went into this film. This is how classics get made. Silver Linings Playbook ranks up their with many of the Nora Ephron rom-coms and quirky Woody Allen films. Yet it still has its own voice and feels totally unique. That is something to celebrate when films like Valentine’s Day make millions off of overblown cliches. This film is an example of the silver lining  within this business concerned industry. Grade: A-

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