WATCH // MOVIE
The Silver Linings Playbook
Director: David O’Russell
The Silver Linings Playbook, directed by David O. Russell, is an eclectic romantic comedy. The film largely depicts a man coming to terms with a bipolar disorder and the events stemming from it, with the help of a woman who is coming to terms with her own problems. The film is both serious and funny at the right times and reflects an almost average American family. The buzz around Silver Linings Playbook is well deserved, with brilliant performances from all members of the cast. The film has elements of indie nuances that have favoured it among the critics, along-side the stereotypical romantic comedy genre must-haves.
True to its name, the film has an optimistic tone emphasising reinvigoration to live life anew. Set in suburban Philadelphia, Bradley Cooper plays Pat Solitano, a thirty-odd year old man whose mother Dolores (Australian Jacki Weaver) picks him up from a mental health facility at the beginning of the film. We soon learn that Pat’s disorder led to an unfortunate event with his wife Nikki. She becomes his motivation to reinvent himself and ‘get better’. He becomes so focused on her that he forgets to look out for other opportunities that present themselves.
Cooper is fantastic, he experiments with different facets of the disorder. He’s as blunt as a small child with no filter and is gratingly annoying sometimes but in an endearing way. He has the body language, facial expression and tone down so well that what we deem as a social disorder is now seen as a unique personality.
The first half of the film is chaotic, cut and change sequences, stilted dialogue and a cacophony of shouting and loud rock music as Pat has episodes of anger. Robert de Niro plays his father and provides much welcomed comic relief in true de Niro style as an unemployed football bookie. He believes that Pat is his good luck charm and should be present at every Philadelphia Eagles game so they can win. We soon learn that it is also an underhanded way for him to spend time with his son.
Soon enough, darkly eye lined brunette Jennifer Lawrence is introduced as the equally strange Tiffany; who becomes Pat’s only way to reconcile with his wife. Tiffany also has serious problems and they become friends (with a capital ‘F’) in hope of helping each other. Tiffany agrees to help Pat, but only if he gives her something in return. Lawrence starkly plays the mysterious Tiffany with a sharpness and oomph that leaves an impact. She and Pat’s bizarre interactions have an eccentric chemistry to them that is emphasised by the intimate dance scenes and witty dialogue.
The film can seem a little chaotic, dry and rather alternative, but it begins to pick up with the introduction of Tiffany. From there, it’s like a snowball rolling down a hill, its gets bigger and better as it goes. Every woman (or man) in the cinema will swoon at the finale in true romantic comedy style. The soundtrack is pretty amazing as well, and worth listening out for. The supporting cast are great; Chris Tucker as Pat’s friend from the mental health facility, Anupam Kher as Pat’s therapist and John Ortiz as Pat’s unhappily married friend Ronnie. But Cooper, Lawrence and de Niro are definitely the focal points.
The Silver Linings Playbook is an atypical romantic comedy in so many ways. The unconventional characters allow the audience to reflect on our own society and the lives of those who suffer mental illnesses. It also shows the audience that we are all not that different from one another with a clever sort of twist near the end. By making us question what we see and accept as ‘social disorders’ and normalcy, or just unique personalities that make life interesting.