A man who has been recently discharged from a mental institution. A widow who is sex addict. When they meet, they share neuroses and sad emotional traumas. It has been a beautiful friendship and a mutual commitmentâ€¦ Until they take a giant leap of faith to experience the true â€œsilver liningsâ€ in their lives. This is the story of the 2012 box-office â€œSilver Linings Playbookâ€.
Silver Linings Playbook is an American romantic comedy-film adapted from the novel of the same title by Matthew Quick. Directed by David O. Russell, it stars Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, and many others. The movie tells the story of two married people coping with their own disorders, only to find love with each other as they reexamine their lives and their relationships.
Plot. The movie opens with the discharge of Pat Solitano Jr. (played by Cooper), who has bipolar disorder, from a mental health facility. Against medical advice and without the knowledge of her husband Pat Sr. (De Niro), Dolores Solatano (Weaver) has approved the discharge of her son after eight months of treatment. Part of the condition of his release is that Pat stays with his parents in Philadelphia.
The reason for Pat’s treatment is that he beat up the lover of his wife Nikki after he caught both of them showering. Nikki has since moved away and has filed a restraining order against him. Despite his medication and the mandatory regular therapy sessions, Pat feels he can manage on his own on the outside through healthy living, finding happiness in all things and looking for the “silver linings” in his life. In everything, his ultimate goals are to get his old job back and to be reunited with Nikki.
At dinner with his friend Ronnie, Pat meets Tiffany Maxwell (Lawrence), Ronnie’s sister-in-law, a recent widow, a sex addict, and who like Pat, suffers from a similar disorder. They strike an odd friendship, more so when Tiffany offers to deliver his letter to Nikki. In return, Pat will become her partner in an upcoming dance competition. Reluctantly, Pat agrees and both begin extensive practice on the following weeks.
Things have suddenly taken a turn when Pat’s father invites him to attend a Philadelphia Eagles game where he bet all of his money. Pat skips the practice with Tiffany and involves himself to a scuffle during the game. The Eagles lose the game and Pat Sr. is furious. Back at home, Tiffany arrives and reasons that the Eagles will do better if she and Pat are together. Pat Sr., then convinced that Pat and Tiffany being together is a good luck, makes a parlay with his gambling friend. If the Eagles win their next game, and if Pat and Tiffany scores at least 5.0 out of 10.0 in their dance competition, Pat Sr. will win back all the money he lost on the first bet. After thinking and re-thinking, and after re-reading Nikki’s reply letter (earlier given by Tiffany), Pat finally agrees.
Days after, Pat, Tiffany and everyone else arrives at the competition. It is also the night of the football game. Tiffany is terrified when she spots Nikki in the audience and desperately, she helps herself with two shots of drink. Despite her slight drunkenness, she and Pat successfully perform their routine. As they dance, the Eagles win their game and at the end of their dance, they receive a score of exactly 5.0. Pat, Tiffany and the others are elated.
Pat then approaches Nikki and whispers in her ear. Seeing this, Tiffany walks off. Shortly, Pat leaves Nikki and chases after Tiffany. He tells her he knows that she had forged Nikki’s letter and confesses that he has loved her from the moment he met her but has taken a long time to realize it. In the end, Pat Sr. opens a restaurant with his winnings and Pat Jr. and Tiffany becomes a couple.
Commentary. Silver Linings Playbook is a romantically and beautifully crazy movie. It is the type of movie which you fall in love right at the beginning. It is highly predictable and the plot is not very unique, but it is the drama and the little lessons of love and family that make the movie very lovable and unforgettable.
Much of the success of the movie lies on the screenplay and the actors. The sequences are fast-paced and there is no single boring moment in the film. One moment, you get scared with the frantic characters, next moment you are swept away with their loneliness, and next moment you fall for them. The lines are equally crazy, even made crazier by the Cooper and Lawrence. This is the best that I have seen of Cooper. He perfectly portrayed the fanatical man with sudden mood swings. Lawrence is just as wonderful. She is a perfect match to Cooper, and when her mad paranoid character meets his, you instantly feel chemistry between them. They do not really balance out the drama; instead, they heighten all the emotions which lead to the moment you want to happen – them falling in love. De Niro, Weaver, and all the other supporting roles are also commendable as their own eccentricities make an excellent blend for an exciting story of love, family and friendship.
Silver Linings Playbook is one of the best films of 2012. A tender story of forgiveness, hope, redemption and starting over, it is realistic and relatable, something unexpected out of a light and feel-good movie. Though packed with humor and dark comedy, it is equally moving and overwhelming. In the end, you find yourself painting a cute little smile on your face.
Reception. Silver Linings Playbook is both commercial and critical success. It received several nominations in different awards, particularly in the category of best actors, best supporting roles, best screenplay, best director, and best picture. Jennifer Lawrence won Best Actress in the AACTA International Awards, Detroit Films Critics Society Awards, Georgia Films Critics Association, Satellite Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Academy Awards, and Golden Globe Awards.
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