Release date: November 16 (limited)/December 25, 2012
Runtime: 2 hr. 2 min.
MPAA rating: R
I am so late with this review, but I decided to talk about Silver Linings Playbook anyway, especially since it's still in theaters. What's funny is that I have actually seen this at a screening a few days before it came out, but got caught up in work, family, holidays... What can I say, sometimes I'm just not on top of things. So, without further ado, here are my thoughts on Silver Linings Playbook.
My biggest fear for this film was that it would turn out to be a cheesy romantic comedy. Still, I was very excited to see it and rooted for it to be good. I must say I was not disappointed - Silver Linings Playbook was a pleasant surprise. It is a film that might make you feel bad for laughing because the situation itself is in fact heartbreaking. Another movie that I had a similar reaction to was The Terminal, which I found very sad while most of the people around me laughed and laughed.
Silver Linings Playbook follows the healing process of Pat (played brilliantly by Bradley Cooper) - a guy with bipolar disorder who refuses to accept the failure of his marriage and, after spending time in a mental institution, tries to put the pieces of his life back together. Pat is living with his parents and despite everyone advising him to move on is determined to reunite with his wife Nikki. He meets Tiffany, a young widow with problems of her own, and the two slowly develop a slightly forced friendship. One of the best parts of this film for me was that I really didn't know if either of them was going to be alright at the end or if everything was going to come crashing down even worse.
The writing made me really happy: the dialogue was full of irony and sarcasm, but also had a lot of very honest (sometimes painfully honest) moments. I was so relieved that the writers did not try to "lighten up" the subject - the story is pretty dark and the viewers never forget it, even if they are laughing. Another great thing about the script is that it shows how messed up "normal" people are, be that individuals or entire families. All weird in their own ways, the characters try to find a way to coexist, occasionally making the "crazy ones" seem more sane than the rest.
The acting was definitely on par with the writing. I expected a great performance from Jennifer Lawrence, which she delivered as always, but the biggest surprise for me was Bradley Cooper. He shows a different, much darker side of himself as Pat. He is not the typical character he usually gets cast as and I really hope to see more of this new Bradley Cooper in future films. Pat is heartbreaking, blinded by what he believes in and is in the biggest state of denial. He also has great chemistry with the rest of the cast: watching him bump heads with Jennifer Lawrence is a treat. Another actor I want to mention is Robert De Niro. I spent about half of the film confused about his character and wondering why he took this role, but he brings it together beautifully in the second half of the movie. Without giving anything away, let me just say there is a scene between him and Pat that blew me away and made me put so many things together about his character. It doesn't matter that the role is supporting - De Niro makes you pay attention.
Silver Linings Playbook is a film I absolutely recommend. Just don't come in expecting a lighthearted comedy. I would definitely love to see it again, except for next time I will be prepared with waterproof makeup.