Sil­ver and gold

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MOVIES - Leigh Paatsch

SIL­VER LIN­INGS PLAYBOOK ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ■ Di­rec­tor: David O. Rus­sell ( ) Stars: Bradley Cooper, Jen­nifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Ju­lia Stiles, Chris Tucker Now show­ing: Vil­lage Cinemas

TFalling apart to get it to­gether O tag Sil­ver Lin­ings Playbook as merely a feel­good movie – or worse, a ro­man­tic com­edy – is to do it a great dis­ser­vice. Though a su­perb ex­am­ple of how both gen­res could and should be han­dled, there is a shape- shift­ing shrewd­ness afoot in even the most sim­plest scenes. Re­mark­ably, the pic­ture can ex­pand or con­tract to any­one’s ex­pec­ta­tions.

The film is a love story of two highly strung peo­ple re­bound­ing from all- time lows.

Pat ( Bradley Cooper) used to be a school­teacher.

One ner­vous break­down and sev­eral months later, Pat is just an­other former in­mate of a men­tal in­sti­tu­tion.

Hav­ing com­pletely fallen apart, Pat’s job now is to put him­self back to­gether. The prospects do not look good.

Though his wife is now his ex- wife – with a re­strain­ing or­der to keep him well away – Pat tells any­one who will lis­ten that he is still mar­ried and will soon win her back.

So when Pat al­most lit­er­ally col­lides with Tif­fany ( Jen­nifer Lawrence), a beau­ti­ful young widow just as manic- de­pres­sive and sharp­tongued as him­self, she does not even faintly beep on his ro­man­tic radar.

Herein lies the sim­ple hook that’s bound to get you in once Sil­ver Lin­ings Playbook gets you ac­quainted with Pat and Tif­fany: how long will it take for each to re­alise the cure for what ails them is stand­ing right be­fore them?

Sure, this is a stock- stan­dard premise for many a fluffy film, but when it is ad­dressed as frankly and fren­ziedly as it is here, the fa­mil­iar­ity just does not mat­ter at all.

The key is a bril­liant screen­play by film­maker David O. Rus­sell. In an abrupt de­par­ture from his pre­vi­ous out­ing, The Fighter, Rus­sell brings a sharp emo­tional edge to pro­ceed­ings. The hard­headed hu­mour of his di­a­logue trumps the soft- hearted na­ture of the tale ex­actly when it should.

Also work­ing in the film’s favour is a fleet of top- flight per­for­mances. Bradley Cooper is a rub­ber ball of mis­placed en­ergy through­out. His char­ac­ter is all over the place psy­cho­log­i­cally, but we never lose sight of him de­spite the rapid- fire mood swings.

Play­ing Pat’s par­ents, Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver ex­pertly con­vey why their son has turned out the way he has.

Best of all is Jen­nifer Lawrence, work­ing a world away from her Hunger Games per­sona. She is in­cred­i­bly adept at chan­nelling the off­beat comedic sen­si­bil­ity needed to make this de­cep­tively lyri­cal ma­te­rial sing. The best ac­tress Os­car is hers for the tak­ing.

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