Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star as a couple of people with mental issues who meet and cautiously get to know each other. She’s an amateur dancer who plays on his obsession with his ex-wife in order to wrangle him into dancing with her in a local competition. Along the way, there’s romance, comedy, insanity, dancing, degenerate gambling, drunkenness, neighborhood disturbances, cops, fist fights…
A good time is guaranteed for all.
Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) has just been released from a court mandated stint in a mental health facility. He was held after a violent incident, but now his time is up… he’s free to go.
His main concern upon returning home is reuniting with his wife (whom he’s now separated from) and demonstrating how much he’s changed through all he learned in the hospital. It’s not going to be easy of course, seeing as she’s moved on and has a restraining order against him. His father (Robert De Niro) is concerned for his health, but, as a bookie and an enormous football fan, he’s also excited for the good karma that his return home will bring to the Eagles…
Pat is introduced to Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a young woman with psychiatric issues of her own. Her husband recently died, and she… didn’t handle it well. Now the two of them find themselves in positions where they don’t know many people and are basically starting their lives over, in a sense.
When Pat requests that Tiffany get a note through to his ex, she agrees… if he’ll be her dance partner in a competition she’s always wanted to take part in. He’s so obsessed with his ex that he agrees, in spite of knowing nothing about dancing. So, the two of them begin to train, while the issues they each have continue to swirl about them.
“Silver Linings Playbook” was one of the most buzzed about movies of this year, and once I finally was able to see it, I can see why. It’s a wonderful blend of comedy, romance and drama, featuring damaged, vulnerable characters that the audience will connect with easily. The two leads, Cooper and Lawrence, are exceptional as the two socially challenged people who try to learn to relate to each other. They’re both abrasive and curt with each other and with the other people in their lives, but to very endearing results. You honestly root for the two of them to figure out how to deal, which adds a welcome new dimension to the typical romance, where you’re only rooting for the people to get together. De Niro, for the first time in recent recollection, is given a decent role in support. He makes the most of it as the father who’s a little touched himself, and only wants the best for his son, even though he doesn’t know how to help.
Together, the cast will win you over and get you squarely behind these characters. Then, as you’ve hitched your wagon to them, they’ll take you through a comedic, romantic, dramatic struggle to find… not even each other, as much as themselves, and then maybe each other too. It’s a movie that’s full of laughs, and is genuinely touching at times.
It’s well deserving of all the buzz it’s received, and I’m certain it will be in the mix come awards time.