Yes, we all get a little crazy sometimes. Call it whatever you want, but the director of Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell, brought this term to the big screen in a big way with Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper), a bi-polar, delusional, separated 30-something high school teacher who spent the past eight months of his life in a mental institution only to return to his childhood home under his parent’s supervision.
Pat is determined to reconcile with his adulterous ex-wife, who evidently brought upon Pat’s eight-month hospital stint, by sleeping with the history teacher in their marital home which resulted in Pat giving her lover a brutal beating.
The film’s crazy begins, but it doesn’t end, with Pat.
Pat’s parents, Pat Sr. and Delores (Robert DeNiro and Jacki Weaver), play a wonderful duo who only want to see the best for their son but struggles with his current behaviour. Pat Sr. is a fan of the home town team, the Philadelphia Eagles, a full-time bookmaker and a superstitious, OCD-ruled father with a dream of opening his own restaurant. Delores, is a concerned and somewhat sneaky wife and mother who supports her husband’s superstitions by cooking the same thing every game day (but sometimes she will kick it up a notch). Yes, there’s a long history of craziness in this home which brings upon an onslaught of neighbourhood gawkers and the occasional knock at the door where a high school student wants to question them about mental illness for a school project.
Pat’s two best friends, Ronnie (John Ortiz), and Donnie (Chris Tucker) have experienced their share of craziness. Ronnie, is married to controlling Veronica (Julia Stiles) and is miserable to the point of crazy at times. Then there is Donnie, a committed patient at the mental institution, who casually escapes from time to time under the assumption that his doctors have cleared him of his illness.
When Pat thinks that he has his future all under control, in walks Veronica’s sister Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence). Tiffany is a depressed widow whose promiscuity and odd behaviour has much of the town questioning her sanity. Their initial meeting takes place at Pat’s best friend’s (Jon Ortiz) home where they banter about the side effects of the variety of anti-depressants that doctors have prescribed to them.
Luckily for Pat, Tiffany is also a friend of his ex-wife. Pat uses Tiffany as his pawn to send a message to his beloved, while ignoring his restraining order against her. This is the beginning of a romantic comedy laced with craziness, oddities, and sometimes despair.
Silver Linings Playbook’s unique and comedic approach to mental illness and romance is refreshing and occasionally frustrating. The story line between Tiffany and Pat is often interrupted with Pat Senior’s aspirations of owning his own restaurant where he puts big money on “his team” to achieve his goal.
As the movie comes to a close, all of the character’s oddities are challenged when they come to the realization that sometimes you have to break away and take a chance in order to grab at that silver lining that is right in front of you. There is no question why Silver Linings Playbook won the 2012 Toronto Film Festival People’s Choice award as the acting and story line keeps the viewer enthralled and routing for the main character’s temporary insanity from beginning to end.
Life’s a Blog rates Silver Linings Playbook 4.5/5 and believes that this will be an Oscar contender as well.