I know, I am very late to review this film as it came out last year and before you even think it, no I do not have a knack for only reviewing movies surrounded by Oscar buzz. However ‘Silver Linings playbook’ did have my favourite actor Robert de Niro starring as well as two other actors I couldn't resist watching play opposite each other- of course Bradley Cooper and Jenifer Lawrence. Unlike ‘Les Miserables’ I went into watching 'Silver Linings' without any real expectations. Yes, it has already won some serious awards like a Golden Globe, but other than finding it inevitable that some tour de force acting would come from de Nero, I had no idea what the story line was about or what any of the characters were like. Which was probably a good thing, because a story about a thirty something man that moves back in with his parents after a stint at a mental hospital doesn't exactly scream “Film of the year” as some critics are calling it. But then again, you can never judge a film by its synopsis.
A good thing about the way this film was written and directed by David O. Russell, was that it didn't take too long to address the key issues. You know from the start ‘Pat’ played by Bradly Cooper is in a mental institution, but they tell you why pretty soon. Unlike many precocious indie films that don't actually tell you anything about anyone and then you wake up at the end of film wandering where those 2 hours of you life went. With 'Silver Linings' the important stuff such as what happened to put Pat in the mental facility, or how widowed ‘Tiffany’ played by Jennifer Lawrence lost her husband are addressed. However the effects of these events on the characters is left to the audience to discover, with little hidden clues and analytical details like how the position of a portrait on a wall shows the relationship between father and son. Geeky I know. But this style of directing is a thinkers dream.
Bradly Cooper is amazing at showing all the different aspects to his character, who is at times violent but incredibly sensitive, confused but also very honest, and in my opinion is strongest of the cast (which I guess you have to be when leading in a movie) but Bradley holds his own against incredibly strong actors such as de Niro and is, dare i say, on par in terms of his performance.
If only I could say the same for Jennifer Lawrence, who yes is good, but I’d be lying if I said no other actress could have played her role. Her character has a spectrum of different characteristics, but for me the overwhelming sadness that come with being widowed just didn't come across. In some movies actresses have shown it in their eyes if not anything else and Jennifer just didn't to that. Its an unpopular opinion, but hey ho.
I absolutely loved the comedic relief in the form of Chris Tucker, who made me laugh every time he managed to escape the mental ward, and wound up intruding on the family. Last but not least the father of acting himself Robert Di Niro played the gambling obsessed superstitious father, and might I say brilliantly. This character is no ‘Al Capone’ as Di Niro has previously played, but he still manages to take a seemingly dull part and make it pop onscreen, as well as being completely believable throughout, bravo.
If you’re like me and have been waiting to see the film for months, I would defiantly recommend. An emotional and deep yet hilarious film.
My rating: ★★★★