The quirkiness of its approach to aggression and mental illness may be off-putting to some, but Silver Linings Playbook is an undeniably realistic and accurate depiction of psychological instabilities and the people who deal with them. Of course personally being able to relate to the illnesses portrayed is an advantage. However, one does not need to be at a disadvantage to enjoy and understand the craft and perfection in Silver Linings Playbook. Directed by the dependable David O. Russell (The Fighter) and featuring oscar nominated performances from Bradley Cooper (The Hangover), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone), Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom), and Robert De Niro (Goodfellas). Silver Linings Playbook is a faithful adaptation for the countless who have been helped by the original text and for ones who need to feel hope and know they are not alone. It is a nice change of pace to see that optimistic, although controversial film making still exists amongst the endless pieces of high budget dribble released every weekend.
Pat Solatano Jr (Cooper) convinces his mother Dolores (Weaver) to discharge him from the mental health institution after his court ordered stint is complete, against medical advice and without the consent of Pat Sr (De Niro). With conditions that Pat Jr must live at home with his parents, take medication, and attend mandatory therapy sessions, Pat Jr attempts to get his life in order and return to his wife. Pat Jr attends dinner with close friends and it is here where he is introduced to Tiffany (Lawrence), a recovering sex addict who’s husband has recently died. Through their mental issues, Pat Jr and Tiffany find common ground and become friends while they help each other to get over their tribulations.
It was uplifting to see the strength in the supporting and leading male actor categories at the Oscars this year. When Bradley Cooper and especially Robert De Niro walk away empty handed after their performances in Silver Linings Playbook, it becomes clear there was some serious competition. Robert De Niro gives the best performance of his illustrious career with his take on an aging OCD victim. Jennifer Lawrence, the only actor in the film to win an Oscar for her performance, is radiant as always. She melts with Cooper and together they become flawlessly dysfunctional. Feeding off their problems to become unified and eventually able to heal. David O. Russell once again unleashes a compelling tale of distress and succeeds in showing not just the work and time needed to breakthrough hardships, but as well as the support needed from family and friends. Silver Linings Playbook is the most elevating and rewarding film of the year.