Rarely does Hollywood give adult audiences a family centric, dramatic comedy on Thanksgiving like David O. Russell’s “The Silver Linings Playbook.” Audiences better take advantage of the opportunity this weekend as a quality alternative to something like “Red Dawn.” Playing in 350 theaters this weekend, it might be hard to locate. However, go out of your way to find it.
Synopsis: Life doesn’t always go according to plan…Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper) has lost everything — his house, his job, and his wife. He now finds himself living back with his mother (Jacki Weaver) and father (Robert DeNiro) after spending eight months is 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 (Jennifer Lawrence), 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 liningsappear in both of their lives.
The strongest element of ‘Silver Linings’ is Jennifer Lawrence. She made her debut with “Winters Bone” and exploded with “The Hunger Games” and is beginning to solidify her status as one of my generations talented actresses with the friendly girl next door attitude. Lawrence gives an incredible performance balancing quirky crazy and furious humor in what may be the best leading actress turn of 2012. The chemistry between her and Bradley Cooper were infectious and sincere as their witty, snappy dialogue delivered kinetic energy. You watch the sparks fly off the screen. Let me declare that I was wowed by Bradley Cooper’s dramatic turn. He’s a thoughtful actor in interviews and finally drops his “Hangover” facade to show us he is multi-dimensional character actor.
‘Silver Linings’ balances the issues of depression and mental illness with the need for family/relationships as those who suffer from the conditions channel their passion with, say, love of tango/ballroom dancing or the Philadelphia Eagles. This movie really is about football and family, not a marketing trick. Like with “The Fighter,” director David O. Russell orchestrates the passionate clash of a working class East Coast family. This is an unexpected career turn for the filmmaker who gave us “Flirting with Disaster” and “Three Kings.” What really works here is the character banter especially among Cooper’s family. There’s a lot of yelling and hire wire dialogue that Russell pulled from his actors. As an actor, Robert DeNiro, playing Coopers father, hasn’t been this alive in a film in several years. What moved me about ‘Silver Linings’ was what it says about the current state of our clinically diagnosed brokeness, fractured relationships, wounded souls and the need to be healed by positive realizations and emotional connections.
Transcendent, intimate, and eccentric, ‘Silver Linings’ is one of the best movies of 2012. There’s a reason why this won the same audience award at the same festival (Toronto) as “The Kings Speech” and “Slumdog Millionaire.” Harvey Weinstein gets behind quality movies and this is no exception as he rally behinds this little movie. You will be hearing about ‘Silver Linings’ in the coming weeks, during years end movie recaps and all through awards season. People: Don’t miss it! And let me know your thoughts and opinions regarding the movie.