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Movie Review: ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ delves into loss, mental anguish and healing

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Yes, “Silver Linings Playbook” is phenomenal by every definition of the word. With an all-star cast, hilarious-yet-serious moments and a touching storyline, this undersold film is the year’s top Oscar-nominated films still playing in theatres.

Although it was released several months ago, this film still hasn’t received the recognition it deserves. The only buzz it received was during Oscar season, and still, the moviegoers have overlooked this phenomenal film.

Life has rough moments, some worse than others, and Pat (Bradley Cooper) is dealing with the worst of it. He lost everything including his house, his job and his wife after nearly beating her lover to death. He is forced to spend eight months in a mental institution where he is diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

After striking a plea bargain, he is able to live with his dysfunctional mother and father (Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver) and is forced to stay away from his wife. When Pat meets widowed Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), who has her own set of problems, his life begins to change.

Tiffany promises to help Pat reconnect with his wife in exchange for an odd request. An unexpected bond begins to form and silver linings appear in both of their lives.

The chemistry between Cooper and Lawrence is very unlikely, but it is undeniable. They play up each other’s craziness as they delve deep into their own character. Rarely do two insane personalities equal a perfect combination of sanity.

The performances in “Silver Linings Playbook” are all outstanding and all deserved to be Oscar nominated. Unfortunately, Lawrence was the only one to win due to harsh competition, but she definitely had the best performance of her career.

Her character reeks of quirkiness with a little bit of insanity thrown in, and it’s obvious she is having a blast in the role. She brings an unusual sarcastic humor that is sure to make cynics smile.

Cooper’s character can be annoying at times, but that is intentional. He does an excellent job playing such a harsh but realistic personality, proving that despite his mental health, he is not the dictionary definition of insane.

Every aspect of the film is multi-faceted with realistic characters, uncomfortable moments and a harsh realism.

Director David Russell does a wonderful job of bringing dysfunction to life. Unlike many directors, he does not shy away from painful conversations and awkward characters.

“Silver Linings Playbook” cannot be summed into a single genre. It is a romantic comedy, a family drama and a heart-warming dramedy all in one.

It would be impossible to not smile at least occasionally while the dynamic duo of Pat and Tiffany forms character and the story truly comes to life.

The story is adorable and awkward. No other words could truly sum up this unusual quasi love story.

egolden@unews.com

 

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