Written and Directed by David O. Russell
Starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro
Pat Solitano: She is my friend with an F.
Danny: Capital F.
Pat Solitano: Yeah, for friend.
The one thing I took away from David O. Russell’s SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK is that you have to deal with the bad in order to get to the good stuff. Always focusing on the silver lining never gives you the opportunity to face your demons and allows them the chance to grow while you’re looking the other way. Russell makes an apt point here as applying this theory to watching this film is really the only way to enjoy it.
There is one other thing I learned while watching this film, that Bradley Cooper has the potential to take on stronger, more dramatic parts. Cooper plays Pat Solitano, whom we meet moments before he exits a mental facility, where he is being treated for bipolar disorder, convincing himself aloud that he’s better now. It is never really clear to either of his fantastically fussy parents, played by Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver, whether he truly is any better but they take him in regardless. Meanwhile, it never needs to be made clear to Pat’s new friend, Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), because she is often just as messed up as he is. Together they learn to heal each other ... through amateur dance?
Considering how visceral Russell went last time out with his Oscar-nominated work on THE FIGHTER, I am genuinely surprised by how tame SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK is. A fantastic ensemble elevates Russell’s screenplay, with moments both touching and amusing, but never to the point where it breaks free of its more conventional trappings. But when you weigh the film’s faults against it’s own silver linings, its still worth the experience.