For the second year in a row, director David O. Russell has gathered a brilliant cast together to earn some respective Oscar nominations for one of his films. Last year it was Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale for “The Fighter,” and this year it is Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, among others, for “Silver Linings Playbook.”
Russell’s newest film revolves around Pat, a recovering mental patient who was recently released into the care of his parents. He uses methods he learned in therapy to attempt to get his life back in order and manager the problems that got him locked away in the first place. He soon meets Tiffany, a recent widower, and is unable to resist her unique charm.
Many will expect a lighthearted comedy when going into this film, and while it is humorous in many aspects, “Silver Linings Playbook” has serious undertones that make this a much better film than the generic romantic comedies many are accustomed to. It deals with Bipolar Disorder, OCD and a few other mental illnesses that are not meant to be taken cheerfully.
The real treat this film delivers to its audience is the fantastic chemistry between Cooper and Lawrence. The first 15 or 20 minutes of the film are a good setup to Cooper’s family life and what he is dealing with, but watching the two leads play off each other is what makes this an Oscar-caliber film. Both Pat and Tiffany are coping with their various issues, and their bluntness towards these issues creates a chemistry that is rarely seen in modern cinema.
Cooper delivers the best performance of his career and continues to test himself by branching out with his acting career. He shows a huge range of emotions throughout the film and deserves the nominations he has received for his performance.
Lawrence also earned her various award nominations, and it is great to know that she will not be typecast as Katniss for the rest of her career. This film would only be mediocre without her, and there are not many actresses who would have thrived like she did with this part. She exudes sexiness while she is on screen, and it would not be a surprise if she was awarded her first Oscar for her performance.
The one issue I did have with the film is a minor one that only the most avid football fan would catch. A big part of the film revolves around the Philadelphia Eagles, and the scores during the year the film is set in were from games that took place in 2008. This does not coincide with jerseys worn by extras in the film which feature Michael Vick and Nnamdi Asomugha. These players did not join the Eagles until 2009 and 2011 respectively. This bothered me throughout the movie, but it was not a big enough issue to damper the great acting displayed by the cast.
“Silver Linings Playbook” is a great movie that deserves every bit of recognition that is has received. The cast, script and direction are all fantastic, and this is a film that everyone should see in theaters while they have the chance.