‘Silver Linings Playbook’ Review
Mental illness is no laughing matter, but much like the characters in his film, writer/director David O. Russell finds that silver lining in a story with people with bipolar disorder and depression. Silver Linings Playbook is as funny as it is disturbing, and heartwarming as it is heartbreaking to make it one of the most entertaining dramas in recent memory.
Everybody has a little crazy in them, but not like Pat and Tiffany. Pat (Bradley Cooper’s best performance) was diagnosed with bipolar disorder during an eight-month stint at a mental health facility, which was part of his plea bargain with the courts after assaulting the man who slept with his wife. And Tiffany (a surprising, stellar Jennifer Lawrence) is a widow fired from her job after sleeping with most of her coworkers. While both are unstable on their own, they form an odd friendship that helps them find clarity in their lives.
The film, much like Pat, is unbalanced, which is not a criticism at all. While it’s entertaining to watch Pat reconnect with his family and friends (especially Ronnie, a whipped husband remarkably played by John Ortiz), it’s just as disturbing to see him deal with his mental illness. Russell, whose son is bipolar and has OCD, balances the heart and humor to perfection, and layers just enough drama to add a level of respect to the characters’ conditions. Pat and Tiffany’s journey to find themselves and a silver lining is a memorable journey thanks to the leads’ Oscar-worthy performances, as well as the supporting cast. Robert De Niro is excellent as the obsessive, fanatical father, and Chris Tucker is very much underutilized as Danny, a friend Pat met at the mental institution. Russell gives each character their time to shine, giving us some of the most memorable scenes of the year.
Silver Linings Playbook is David O. Russell passion project, and it clearly shows. The talented director tightropes a sensitive subject by making it a romantic comedy, but the risk paid off thanks to his sleek direction and the performances from the actors. You’d be crazy to miss out on this gem.Filed under: Movies