So THIS was what all the fuss was about? I TOTALLY GET IT.
Silver Linings Playbook is like a bowl of instant noodles. It doesn’t look like much, but when you smell it, you’re like ‘ohh thats yummy, I’ll give it a go’. Then you taste it, and you’re like, ‘F*CK, that’s good.” Okay, maybe not instant noodles. Maybe like the fine dining equivalent of instant noodles. But, don’t knock instant noodles – THEY ARE THE BEST.
I think what I’m trying to say is that Silver Linings Playbook, like instant noodles, hits all the right spots and leaves you all happy inside.
Bradley Cooper gets his crazy on as Pat Solitano, a bipolar former high-school teacher who is in the nuthouse for beating the shit out of his wife’s manstress (man-mistress). He’s released into his parents’ care – an OCD Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver. At a point in his life where things literally cannot get any worse, Crazy Bradley Cooper is determined to find a silver lining.
Crazy Bradley has some goals: (1) get fit, (2) get it together, so he can (3) get his wife, Nikki, back. While trying to assimilate back into his old life with his old friends, he meets Tiffany (Goth J. Law). She is equally nuts, being a young widow and an apparent nymphomaniac.
They strike up an explosive friendship and she promises to help him get Nikki back if he will help her by being her partner in a dance competition. Yeah, its weird, but they’re both weird so its totally normal. For example, bonding over meds – kinda weird, right?
Kudos to David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook must’ve been a hugely intimidating movie to film. Maybe not – I wouldn’t know because I’m not an award-winning director. This movie could have been a huge catastrophe. It deals with unsettling issues of mental illness yet manages to strike a perfect balance between heart-warming and humourous. That’s right, David O. Russell made a comedy about mental illness and no one got offended. That is an ACHIEVEMENT.
Okay, so it was more of a dramedy. Big deal. The point is, Silver Linings Playbook was a beautifully wrought film that explored themes of family, love, and happiness without disintegrating into a clichéd sob-fest. It was a TRIUMPH.
Let’s just take a gander at how it swings seamlessly between the dramatic, to the humourous, to the completely absurd:
There was so much that could’ve been misconstrued as insensitive or distasteful. Luckily, they had a stellar cast. They had De Niro for chrissakes.
Bradley Cooper more than deserved that Oscar Nom because his Crazy Bradley was a boatload of insane. His staggering screen presence elevated this loser bipolar guy to a charismatic, offbeat antihero whom you couldn’t help but root for. It would’ve been so easy to play Pat as a caricature of mental illness and go for the easy laugh. But, Bradley Cooper, being way more finessed than that, gave Pat a soul. (I know that sounds über corny, but this is my review so I can say what I want!)
He was backed by a freaking awesome cast too. Robert De Niro as his super OCD father (his remotes MUST point a certain way or the Eagles will lose, goddammit!). Jacki Weaver as his patiently exasperated mother (“I made crabby-snacks and homemades”).
And then we’ve got the random gems. Like Julia Stiles! Holy crapper, where has she been hiding? Do you think David O. Russell is a fan of Save The Last Dance? And Chris Tucker! Seriously, where has this guy been since Rush Hour? Holed up in some bordello somewhere with Jackie Chan, probably. See the following for Chris Tucker’s awesome-ness:
Obviously, we need to talk about Jennifer Lawrence. Sorry, excuse me – Academy Award-winner, Jennifer Lawrence. I agree with the vast majority of critics – she delivers a scene-stealing, organic performance as Tiffany. Now everyone, please don’t throw Internet stones at me for what I’m about to say. Maybe I’ve been tainted by the Oscar buzz, but she wasn’t as good as I thought an Oscar winner should be. In fact, it kinda seems to me like Jennifer Lawrence is playing a derivative of herself – only louder, and more vulgar. I sort of get it. She plays Tiffany with charm and intensity that very few could pull off and still feel like a real-live human. Its awesome, but is it Oscar-awesome?
Overall, Silver Linings Playbook is one of the few movies that definitely deserve a massive A++. If you can make me genuinely laugh while watching an absurd family fight that still wrenches at my heart, you’re awesome. And you’re also called David O. Russell. Go watch it, plebeians!
BONUS Bradley Cooper Between Two Ferns