Created on: January 26, 2013
When a movie generates Oscar buzz it's still a good idea to approach it with some caution. That is certainly the case with "Silver Linings Playbook." It is obvious why the actors have warranted such attention, but it is hard to see why director David O. Russell is getting such attention for his direction and screenwriting.
Based on a novel by Matthew Quick, "Silver Linings Playbook" begins with Pat (
Bradley Cooper) being picked up from a mental hospital by his mother, Dolores (Jacki Weaver). It turns out that he was placed in the hospital by the court after he viciously bashed a man who was having an affair with his wife, Nikki (Brea Bee).
However, the news that Pat is out of the hospital doesn’t exactly thrill his father, Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro) who believes that Pat may not be ready to be back in society. At first Pat does all he can to break his restraining order and tries to see Nikki, but after being picked up by Officer Keogh (Dash Mihok) a couple of times and because of advice from his doctor Dr Cliff Patel (Anapam Kher) Pat decides that while he does still want to end up with Nikki he is going to have to work slowly so he can show her that he has changed.
Then his life changes forever when his friends Ronnie (John Oritz) and Veronica (Julia Stiles) introduce him to the damaged Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) and while many feel they are bad for each other they soon form a strong bond that the others, aside from Danny (Chris Tucker), just don’t seem to understand.
While Russell has delivered a fairly decent script you could never say he brings brilliant writing or directing to the film. His directing style is pretty much stock standard for a drama film. The script does have some moments of good drama, but at the end of the day it is still a film where you can tell what is going to happen from the beginning. While "Silver Linings Playbook" is better than some others in the genre it is really a romantic drama with a little bit of an edge.
What does lift "Silver Linings Playbook" above most other films is the sensational acting performances from its key cast. De Niro delivers one of his best performances in years while Weaver seems to be the glue that brings all the characters together. Even Chris Tucker decides that it is time to remind the cinema-going public that when given the right material he can be a fine actor. He seems to love playing the unhinged Danny.
But the real winners with this film are Cooper and Lawrence. Lawrence really shows the world that she is capable of better work than she put into "The Hunger Games," while in a similar fashion Cooper blows away the stereotype that seems to have surrounded him since his appearance in "The Hangover." Both put in great performances and really deserve any awards that come their way.
It’s rare in cinema for actors to act above the script that is placed in front of them, but that is certainly the case with "Silver Linings Playbook." The script might be mediocre, but the performances of Lawrence and Cooper are sensational.
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