Randy's Review: 'Silver Linings Playbook'

Friday, January 25, 2013

Dealing with Life

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are amazing in this story of two tortured souls trying to find some normalcy and happiness in their world.

"Silver Linings Playbook" refers to Pat Solitano's (Cooper) outlook on life, where he attempts to find a silver lining in all of the curves thrown at him.

Pat begins the movie in a psychiatric treatment, refusing to take meds and using a dedication to weight loss as a means to get through the days. He's in the institution as part of a plea agreement resulting from a beating he gave a fellow teacher, whom he found in the shower with his wife. While institutionalized, he's diagnosed with a previously undiscovered bipolar disorder. Upon finishing his eight months, he moves in with his parents' - Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro) and Dolores (Jacki Weaver). Pat is obsessed with making things right with his estranged wife, Nikki (Brea Bee), despite a restraining order, and picking up where they left off.

He continues his health focus - running regularly with a garbage bag draped over him to create more sweat - addressing one of the complaints his wife had.

While enjoying a meal with an old friend, Ronnie (John Ortiz) and his wife, Veronica (Julia Stiles), Pat is introduced to Tiffany Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence), equally messed up and out of work after the loss of her husband, a police officer who was killed in a car accident.

The two strike up a reluctant friendship and begin to enjoy life at moments, finding ways to help one another get what they want. Tiffany agrees to help Pat get a letter to Nikki if he will agree to be her partner in a big dance competition. Desperate to make contact with his wife, he agrees to learn to dance and join her for the performance. And as you might guess, slowly the two begin developing feelings for one another - something Pat fights against.

Add Pat Sr. running book from the family house and his reliance on Pat as a good luck charm for the Philadelphia Eagles; a dedicated therapist Dr. Patel, (Anupam Kher); a brother who is doing very well for himself; and Officer Keogh (Dash Mihok), who is constantly looking for a reason to send Pat back to the institution in Baltimore, and you have a dynamic story and cast.

The movie lasts just more than two hours, but you won't find yourself checking a watch. The acting and story keep you focused, and you truly develop a bond with these characters as they struggle to live life despite their individual character flaws and circumstances.

Credit director David O. Russell for giving us one of the best stories on the screen in several years.

Randy's Review: Silver Linings Playbook

On a scale of 5 popcorn buckets, "Silver Linings Playbook" fills 4 1/2. Great story, great acting, great characters. It's the movie trifecta. It's the perfect touch of butter on a freshly popped corn, washed down by an ice cold beverage. You will say, "Aaaaah." MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 2 hours, 2 minutes. This film was reviewed at Southpark 7 in Spencer.

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