Some minor SPOILERS below:
Everyone knows about Silver Linings Playbook so far and has been on the minds and hearts of the Academy and fans. I knew the basic premise of the film before going in and I knew what the film was nominated for but I decided to not to think about that while viewing it or by writing this review. I can say that the film is a slow build with some dragging parts but as a whole this film is magnificent. With comedy melded together with heartbreak, mental illness, drama, and romance, this film is something that should be viewed and enjoyed. It’s a good time at the movies and you’ll leave the film feeling warm and joyful.
Bradley Cooper stars as Patrick, a bipolar, magic 8-ball of emotions type who is released from the mental institution and goes off to stay with his parents. He comes out trying to mend his strenuous relationship with his wife while also trying to regain his sanity. On his journey back to his wife he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a crazy, promiscuous twentysomething who lost her husband in an accident and deals with her depression in colorful ways.
The film is funny and heartfelt and will have some misting at times and that’s what I liked about this film. It had you laughing but it also had you feeling something. What I had a problem with was the first hour of the movie. About one hour into it I wasn’t enjoying it. For some reason, I felt as though the pacing was off. I was tapping my foot waiting for the film be over and done with. I’m glad I stayed. Who started out as a character that was not very likable, Bradley Cooper managed to draw me in and take along his journey. Who knew the obnoxious teacher from The Hangover had any acting skills whatsoever.
Jennifer Lawrence is witty and full of energy and its fun to see her bouncing back and forth with Cooper. You can feel the chemistry from the screen. She plays a character that would feel to be too over the top for most projects but she felt down to earth, earnest and real, like I could bump into that person on the street. Robert De Nero plays Coopers OCD, Philly Eagles obsessed father and Jacki Weaver plays his sheltering, enabling wife.
The scenes, for the most part, with De Nero are genuinely funny but made me feel uncomfortable. He has OCD and has to perform a ritual before every football game which plays off the humor but at those times it felt wrong to laugh his condition. Weaver was good in the scenes she’s in; most of the acting she does is with her body, her stature, poses, body language, etc. You almost feel how she’s feeling.
What I loved most about this movie was the use of dolly shots. O. Russell makes the camera a main character. He moves the camera during scenes almost like the camera is speaking with the actors. Think a dance routine where the camera leads.
This is a film about family and dealing with vices. This would have been a perfect film but the first hour was slow. I felt bored during that time, thinking about things that could interest me more. To sum up the film in the perfect way is to compare it to the dance scene at the end. It’s an elegant piece of work with a genuine, funny, earnest core that has a happy ending. What more could you ask for?