‘Silver Linings Playbook’ is an eccentric, unexpected, crazy fun experience; there are some trying moments but the “silver linings” make it all worth it. This movie is certainly intense and it goes from one extreme to the next, you never quite know what to expect from the characters or situations and that’s what makes it so entertaining and unpredictable, which is the key to the whole story. It’s safe to say that most people don’t know anyone like these characters, most have serious emotional damage that makes them be socially awkward, but that’s their charm and intended or unintended humor. Director David O. Russell certainly knew how to tap into the story’s potential and use it in a way to draw in the audience.
Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) is struggling after spending some time at a mental institution and trying to better himself in order to get back with his wife. He starts from zero moving in with his parents: Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro) and Dolores (Jacki Weaver), who are trying their best at helping him. Another challenge presents itself when Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) a woman who has also had some rough times shows up in Pat’s life.
The camera work is yet another interesting thing about the film, it zooms in an out in certain scenes and it tends to sometimes do a 360 of an actor adding originality to the film. The script has different analogies and outlooks shown mainly in the form of awkward dialogues, which help explain the plot and give substance to the film while giving us something to think about. The story develops in such a fascinating way that we can easily see why Pat is the way he is, because of his unique parents and household practices as well as his friends.
Everyone is fantastic; Cooper combines his charm, good looks, humor and sometimes jerk like personality to give us a man struggling to find the right footing. Lawrence at such a young age (22) acts way beyond her years, this is definitely one of the best roles I’ve seen her in. De Niro who hasn’t given much to talk about in years here is an important part of the film, as it wouldn’t be the same without him, he’s a combination of the psycho in his character of ‘Meet the Fockers’ with a twist of reality in a character much up to our expectations. I can sit here and describe how great Weaver, Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher, Paul Herman and Shea Whigham were; but all I will say is that each one of them truly added necessary parts to the story.
I have to talk about John Ortiz who plays Ronnie, Pat’s best friend and is coupled up with Julia Stiles (it was a pleasure seeing her in this film!). Despite Ortiz’s character being outside of the family, he’s just as crucial and demented as the rest of them, maybe even more. His character gives diversity to the film and shows us the angle of a man many would think sane and normal because he has conformed to society’s standards and demands by settling down and having a baby, but he easily provides us with some more extra laughs showing us how stressful “normal” can be.
Sometimes there’s too much going and you just want to scream at the screen to calm everyone down, but perhaps that’s a good thing. I was left with one or two unanswered questions, which bothered me, although it didn’t change how I felt about the film.
I enjoyed the strangeness, awkwardness and downright craziness of this movie; most of these people should definitely be locked up! But that’s what made them so entertaining. I have a number of favorite scenes and moments from all the ups and downs, but mainly ups the movie gives us. This certainly is a dramedy to enjoy and recommend, because no matter how sane some of us think we are there’s no such thing as a perfect person or perfect family.