Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Julia Stiles, Jacki Weaver, Anupam Kher, John Ortiz, Chris Tucker
Directed by David O. Russell
Run Time: 122 mins
Genre: Comedy/ Drama
Opens November 21st
By Lisa Minzey of The Reel Critic.com
With a few film festival awards under its belt, Silver Lining Playbook looks like it may have a head start going into the awards season. Based on the novel by Matthew Quick, David O. Russell assembled a brilliant, interesting cast to bring the quirky, endearing novel to life.
Pat (Bradley Cooper) has little recollected of the past few months. He’s been locked away at a mental institution for a violent act that he can’t quite remember, but cased his wife to leave him until he gets better. Or that is what Pat thinks. His mother Dolores (Jacki Weaver) is his primary caretaker, bring Pat home to live with her and his father Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro). Although everyone is happy to have Pat home, everyone is weary, yet on edge due to Pat’s past behavior, which included explosive, violent outbursts.
Pat believes that he will win back his wife Nikki (Brea Bee) by becoming a positive, more loving, culture man; being the man Nikki always wanted him to be. His therapist Dr. Cliff Patel (Anupam Kher) is helping him work through his issues, by trying to help him uncover why Nikki actually left him and how he can overcome such behavior in the future. But can he really? His friends want him to move on from Nikki, even setting up an arranged “blind date” with his friend’s sister-n-law, Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a woman with an equally troubled past with mental illness. With Tiffany’s help, can Pat win Nikki’s affection or lose her all over again when he regains his memory? Will Pat be able to repair the relationships he damaged with his illness before his court ordered medical vacation? Or will Pat grow into the man he thought he should be, but will his past be enough or will a future with someone else be his silver lining he has been chasing after?
Whenever books are adapted into film, there is always a concern that the film won’t be as enjoyable as the novel. Rest assure, this film lives up to the novel and delivers powerhouse performances from a brilliantly assembled cast. Bradley Cooper performs the best role of his career, since his breakout role in “Wedding Crashers”. In “Wedding Crashers” we saw a glimpse of his neurotic, violent behavior, but in Silver Linings, he channels that energy into a brilliant interpretation of a man suffering from bi-polar disorder. Jennifer Lawrence delivers an equally strong performance as the sexually driven, grief-stricken bipolar widow, which despite her young age plays the role with the wisdom and neurosis of a woman of the age the role was meant for, mid thirties. One would think that the age difference between Cooper and Lawrence wouldn’t translate well into chemistry on-screen, but the performance and comprehension of the characters gives the audience a memorable couple with Pat and Tiffany. The supporting cast is equally grand, although subdued in nature, which is surprising with the actors that surround the protagonists. Robert De Niro normally has such a strong presence on screen, but it balances out well with Cooper’s neurotic performance; that if De Niro was let loose, the story would have been too outlandish for the drama. Keep this one on your awards season watch list as Cooper and/or Lawrence are strong contenders for at least a Golden Globe. Check out Silver Linings Playbook when it opens in theaters starting Wednesday November 21, 2012.