Silver Linings Playbook Review
by Ryan Fecskovics
Silver Linings Playbook is a spectacular film. And, yes it is a “romance” film. But, if it is done right (like this film) it can be amazing. When you have a great ensemble and a wonderful director, you have a phenomenal film. I can surely confirm that this will likely be my favorite film of 2012. I of course can’t jump to conclusions but I don’t see any other film beating this. The film has an incredible cast, including Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro, Jacki Weaver and many other incredible actors. Playbook is a great mix of two very distinct genres (comedy and drama).
Jennifer Lawrence as Tiffany, is for sure the standout in this film. I seriously kept saying during the film, “Can the Academy just give her the Oscar now?” This role suited her well in so many ways. And she really plays a seductive and crazy character better than anyone else. She is so damaged as a character. It was really nice to see the chemistry from Cooper and Lawrence. The reason why this story worked so well was because of the tortured aspect of the two leads. These two were meant for each other in some capacity and they help each other get back to their lives before their turmoil. When Tiffany meets “Pat Jr.” it is a riot. And that chemistry sticks throughout every time they are together.
The script is penned by one of the best director’s out there (David O Russell). He moves the story so smoothly. I was stunned by some of the literary risks he decided to take. He wrote the screenplay and directed the film. And, he made everything look very clean yet edgy. Some of the camera shots and angles were inventive for a “romantic film.” And, he really wanted to make a crowd-pleaser. His previous works were very good but Playbook and The Fighter have definitely marked a new chapter in David’s filmography. This film is by far his most “commercial” film. But, even with that statement, he still made it a worthwhile film to watch (which is so hard!!!).
Bradley Cooper is also (shockingly) stunning in this film. His character is hilarious yet compelling. His character has no filter at all. This proves to be dangerous to his path, But the plot starts off with “Pat Jr.” leaving his 8-month stay at a mental hospital. He then is forced to stay away from his ex-wife (she cheated on him) because he beat up the guy she was sleeping with behind his back. He also has no job. But then he meets Tiffany, who recently lost her police officer husband. And these two connect on another level. Pat desperately wants to be with his ex, and Tiffany is his way to her. Tiffany will only help Pat out if he dances with her at a competition. Also, Pat’s parents are struggling. Pat Sr. lost his job and has no pension. It also seems as if he has a mental health issue as well (It is implied). His wife Doris is fragile in the sense of a stereotypical mother figure. She has little to do in the film but she is an emotional character that pushes the film to another level. I can’t believe I forgot Chris Tucker. He did a great job in a small part. Also, Julia Stiles is in the film. I have missed her (she had a very minor part too).
Another major aspect of the film is the “Philadelphia Eagles” football team. Pat Sr. thinks that Pat Jr. is a good luck charm. But obviously Sr. may be a little superstitious. And, with Cooper’s character he is genuinely affected by Robert DeNiro. It is almost as if the family is dysfunctional. With the rest of the cast, this film is almost guaranteed a SAG nomination. And critics adore the film for the most part. The Academy will likely love this film and it will be a hit at the Oscars. Of course, it’s box office may not be sparkling (yet) but I believe it’ll improve. But the important part is that Pat Jr.’s “Silver Lining” is so marvelously achieved at the end. The film feels so effortless and is a film that anyone can watch. David O Russell has made a film that I personally will never forget. Excelsior!!! (See the film, and this reference will make sense.)
Final Grade: A+