MOVIE REVIEW: “Silver Linings Playbook” stars Bradley Cooper (The Hangover, American Sniper), Jennifer Lawrence (Passengers, The Hunger Games), Robert DeNiro (Last Vegas, Goodfellas), Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom, The Voices), Chris Tucker (The Fifth Element, Rush Hour), Anupam Kher (A Wednesday, Bend It Like Beckham), John Ortiz (Fast & Furious, Kong: Skull Island), Shea Whigham (The Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle), Julia Stiles (The Bourne Ultimatum, 10 Things I Hate About You), Paul Herman (Crazy Heart, American Hustle), and Dash Mihok (The Day After Tomorrow, I Am Legend). It was directed by David O. Russell (The Fighter, Joy), who also wrote the screenplay. Based on a novel, this film follows a bi-polar man named Pat (Cooper), who tries to get back with his wife who has put a restraining order on him for a violent crime he committed against her.
I’ve been meaning to dive into David O. Russell’s work for a while now, as he’s been in the Oscars circle with “American Hustle,” “The Fighter,” “Joy,” and this: “Silver Linings Playbook.” I’ve never seen a trailer for this film, nor have I read the synopsis. All I had to go by walking into it was the poster, which was pretty interesting in and of itself. For those of you that have seen it, you could probably guess my reaction to the first twenty minutes of this feature. Bradley Cooper’s character was hard to pin down, at least for the first act. From the first frame I was submerged into this guy, a man with bipolar disease who is incredibly destructive and brutally honest. I didn’t know what to think of him at first because he was all over the place.. I’m used to Cooper playing the smooth, cool guy, but Pat was a complete 180. One minute he’s reading books to get back with his estranged wife, and the next he’s throwing said book out the window in anger of its content. Things get intense, loose, crazy, and jumbled almost at the same time, and I have to admit to enjoying it. The characters are fresh and their conflict is extremely interesting. Cooper acted like a little kid for most of the picture, and his goal made his journey all the more intriguing to watch. His chemistry with Jennifer Lawrence’s character, Tiffany, was one of the oddest I’ve seen in film. I wanted to think they were sane, but almost all that they did was against Hollywood norm. This is your case of an anti-couple. Because of their messed up noggins, most of their conversations are harsh and childish. It was funny and incredibly engaging because I’ve never seen anything like it before. Heck, a lot of these characters were off the walls; Pat’s dad and brother, his best friend, his hospital friend, and even his therapist towards the end. I felt like I was watching a bunch of loonies for two hours straight, especially with Russell’s direction. Almost every shot had camera movement; the camera followed characters, had characters follow it, or glide across a scene. This made things intense and in-your-face, and I loved it for its originality and aide to form. The performances were great. Cooper blew me away, DeNiro rocked it, and Lawrence was entertaining (not the biggest fan of hers, but she was solid in this). What made things even better was the fact that I didn’t really know what to expect while watching it. Besides one particular plot device, there was hardly anything to predict in this because the pacing and writing was sporadic. Of course, it’s obvious to think that Pat won’t get back with his wife, which leads me to this movie’s main flaw. The one particular plot device I mentioned to be predictable was actually the biggest idea looming over this project. I won’t go into spoilers, but once you watch the first forty minutes it seems pretty clear where Pat will end up. Though it was hard to picture this film ending any other way, I was still let down because of how different this movie was lead to believe. For a film so crazy and sporadic, you would expect it’s conclusion to be the same, and I didn’t really receive that. Don’t get me wrong, the finale is serviceable. It ties things up in a nice bow, but I would’ve preferred something as chaotic and against the norm as the characters. Leading up to the ending though, this feature soared. It was fast-paced, quippy, and in no need of attention, which made viewing it a fun ride. The dialogue was engaging, the performances were fantastic, and the direction was stylistic, granting this film a solid recommendation by me. Aside from the predictable conclusion, everything else was downright original and thought-provoking. FINAL SCORE: 92%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: