Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Silver Linings Playbook

"Silver Linings Playbook" is adapted from the debut novel of the same name written by Matthew Quick.  Crazed football fans are at the heart of "Silver Linings Playbook", but the book is also a moving story of a man with mental illness and the people around him.  The film was adapted for the screen and directed by David O. Russell, who is known for his work with ensemble casting and handheld camera use that was so perfectly used in his last film "The Fighter" (2010).  After receiving the People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival the film quickly jumped to the top of my list of must see films for the year. 

At the start of the movie Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) is released from a mental health facility into the custody of his mother, Dolores (Jacki Weaver), and father, Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro).  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.  To adjust back to life at home, Pat formulates a theory that should he become a better man his silver lining will be the reconciliation with his ex-wife.  Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a tragically widowed and clinically depressed girl.  Tiffany agrees to help Pat reconnect with his wife, but only if he'll do something for her in return.  As their arrangement plays out, an unexpected bond begins to form between them, and silver linings appear in both of their lives.

The performances in the film are some of the best for the year.  Jennifer Lawrence is intense and with just the look in her eyes you feel that she is on the edge of doing something extreme at any moment.  Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro work amazingly togetherhaving recently worked together on "Limitless" just last year.  Both give a performance that makes it believable that they could be father and son.  Neither have a filter, but the best fatherly advice ever comes at the end as Robert De Niro holds Bradley Cooper close and tells him to go after the woman he loves.  Jacki Weaver is a rich character that keeps the family together. 

The story manages to be comic, tragic, and often surprising.  It delivers to fans of football and "Dancing with the Stars" at the same time as providing an emotional story with rich characters that you want to cheer for.  The movie doesn't end with a medical cure, but instead it ends with healing from his family and love.  Jennifer Lawrence should receive a nomination as well as one fore Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper.  The screenplay is very deserving of a nomination and the picture as a whole could even receive the nomination.  The fans at the Toronto International Film Festival got this one right as it is a 5 Quack film.


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