Marcus Reviews Silver Linings Playbook

2 Dec

Synopsis:

Life doesn’t always go according to plan. Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper) has lost everything — his house, his job, and his wife. He now finds himself living back with his mother (Jacki Weaver) and father (Robert DeNiro) after spending eight months is a state institution on a plea bargain. Pat is determined to rebuild his life, remain positive and reunite with his wife, despite the challenging circumstances of their separation. 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. When Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a mysterious girl with problems of her own, things get complicated. Tiffany offers to help Pat reconnect with his wife, but only if he’ll do something very important for her in return. As their deal plays out, an unexpected bond begins to form between them, and silver linings appear in both of their lives.

What I Liked:

Like all movies (especially comedies) that center around mental illness, Silver Linings Playbook ran the risk of offending a whole community of people if it didn’t handle it properly. If they would’ve underplayed it then it would’ve been chastised for playing it safe and on the flip side if they would’ve hammed it up they would’ve turned it into a parody. Luckily thanks to the capable hands involved in this film they were able to handle this touchy topic both honestly and tastefully while still pulling off natural comedy & genuine comedy. Hats off all around.

This movie is pretty stacked ensemble-wise and for the most part the supporting characters do a great job (Robert Deniro gives on of his better performances in recent memory and Chris Tucker provides a refreshing source of levity without being the least bit obnoxious) but this is Cooper & Lawrence’s movie to carry and carry it they did. It’s not secret now that Jennifer Lawrence is quite possibly the most talented young actress out there right now and her performance in this further supports that claim. When I first heard that she was in this movie alongside Bradley Cooper I was slightly worried due to how young she looks compared to him, but she was very much so a woman here. The way she had to weave in & out of the highs & lows of grief was no easy task and yet she was able to pull it off with relative ease. Bradley Cooper was the true star of this movie though as I have no doubt that his performance in this will earn him a Best Actor nod. Playing a character who deals with bipolar disorder would’ve easily gone array when it came time to display the manic episodes but Cooper’s growth as an actor was deftly showcased as he realistically depicted the ins and outs of this perplexing illness. He would make you laugh out loud one minute (his reactions to things were golden) and then break your heart the next in a way that a lesser actor could’ve only hoped to achieve.

I’d also like to shine a light on Bradley & Jennifer’s natural chemistry and charisma here. From the first moment that their characters laid eyes on one another it was magic and their chemistry was electric from that moment until the credits rolled. Considering the substantial age difference between the two, Bradley is 37 & Jennifer is 22, it’s truly impressive how they make it work without it ever being awkward or creepy.

The comedy in this movie was often times very risky as in several moments it happened in the middle of a manic episode but thanks to the sharp script and the talented actors it always felt oddly natural. I found myself laughing genuinely at moments where I didn’t even think it was appropriate to laugh.

There was a moment in this movie towards the end where I got really worried that the movie was going to go the Hollywood happy ending route and when they didn’t I was genuinely relieved.

What I Didn’t Like:

I don’t know whether it was the actress or the script that I should blame but the mother always ended up feeling like a background character. She really had very little presence whenever she was on screen and it was even more obvious whenever she was in a room full of people. Though then again this may have been intentional…

I could’ve done without some of the side characters if it meant more scenes with Chris Tucker.

Even though they were in Philly, I found the football sub plot to be a bit unneeded.

The pacing of this movie was a bit all over the place at times and it dragged a bit towards the middle.

Overall:

Silver Linings Playbook is one of those rare romantic comedies that isn’t satisfied with being cute chick bait and goes above and beyond to get the most out of it’s story and actors. It’s easily the best romantic comedy to come out this year and thanks to David O. Russell’s sensitive direction, a sharp script, some strong supporting performances and very strong turns from both Bradley Cooper & Jennifer Lawrence; I could definitely see this making a run at the Oscars this year. If you need a little feel good in your life then I definitely recommend that get yourself a date and check out Silver Linings Playbook.

Rating: B+

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