Silver Linings Playbook [Celluloid Hero]
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
If you’ve ever looked around at your friends or family or coworkers or even just strangers and thought “man, everybody is crazy”, then you’ve had a similar experience to the characters in Silver Linings Playbook. Just about everyone in the movie is some form of crazy; some are clinical, others are enablers, others just seem to have the type of personalities that wouldn’t necessarily get them institutionalized, but still give off a “crazy” vibe.
Pat (Bradley Cooper) just got out of a mental institution. He was committed after he caught his wife cheating on him and he beat the hell out of the other man. Upon release, he is convinced that everything will go back to normal, despite the restraining order his ex-wife put on him. Pat has become devoted to bettering himself, both physically and mentally, by losing weight and reading the books that his wife will be teaching at school. He’s obsessed with getting back with his wife, despite everyone around him telling him it’s over.
Moving back home with his parents gives a glimpse into what may have caused his obsessive behavior. His father (Robert DeNiro) is clearly obsessive-compulsive, and his mother (Jacki Weaver) enables the behavior with a shrug. DeNiro is also a gambler, taking bets as a bookie along with making his own wagers. Pat’s return home coincides with a hot streak for the Philadelphia Eagles, and Pat becomes his father’s “lucky charm”. Adding to the mental circus is Pat’s friend’s wife’s sister Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence). Tiffany suffered a totally different but equally traumatic end to her relationship.
As the two develop a bond, and start a mutually beneficial friendship. Tiffany needs a dance partner, and offers to help Pat contact his ex (without breaking the restraining order) but only if he helps her dance. The back-and-forth between Tiffany and Pat is somewhat predictable, but the acting by Cooper & Lawrence brings it up a notch.
Things start to strain when Pat is being pulled in opposite directions; Tiffany needs him for her dance competition, while his father claims to need him for good luck on gameday. The two worlds really collide when the dance and the game become part of one large parlay bet, with a huge amount of money on the line.
I understand how this movie was nominated for so many Oscars (Best Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress, Director, Adapted Screenplay & Editing). It really was a quality cast from top to bottom, and the direction and editing fit the story perfectly. I was a bit surprised that Lawrence won, though. Of the five nominees from that year I’ve seen three, and would have put Lawrence tied for second. It’s definitely an enjoyable movie, definitely relatable to most people because hey, we’re all a little crazy in our own ways, and all we can do is hope we find that person that is just as crazy.
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On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, “Silver Linings Playbook” gets a 7 out of 10.