Silver and gold
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.