Today’s Cinema Society screening blew me away. I’d read all the rave reviews for “Silver Linings Playbook,” so I went into the theater trying to tamp down my expectations. Good news: the movie didn’t disappoint. At all.
Here’s the movie company’s synopsis…
Life doesn’t always go according to plan. Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper) has lost everything — his house, his job, and his wife. He now finds himself living back with his mother (Jacki Weaver) and father (Robert DeNiro) after spending eight months is a state institution on a plea bargain. Pat is determined to rebuild his life, remain positive and reunite with his wife, despite the challenging circumstances of their separation. All Pat’s parents want is for him to get back on his feet-and to share their family’s obsession with the Philadelphia Eagles football team. When Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a mysterious girl with problems of her own, things get complicated. Tiffany offers to help Pat reconnect with his wife, but only if he’ll do something very important for her in return. As their deal plays out, an unexpected bond begins to form between them, and silver linings appear in both of their lives.
Here’s the trailer….
Here’s my take…
This comedy/drama about a guy who’s bipolar (Bradley Cooper) and a girl (Jennifer Lawrence) who’s trying to bounce back from the death of her husband is everything you’d want in a grownup movie: great acting, snappy script, brisk pacing, complicated subject. It’s probably my favorite movie of the year so far, although I did love “The Impossible” too.
David O. Russell, who came for the Q&A following the screening, has directed some terrific films, most recently “The Fighter.” He was drawn to the story in part because his son is bipolar (the son even appears in the movie as the kid who knocks on the Solatanos’ door with a video camera). DiNiro’s son is similarly afflicted, so he and Russell both wanted to tackle the material. When Russell was asked why he cast the star of the “Hangover” comedies in such a complex leading role, he explained that he’d seen Cooper in “Wedding Crashers” in which he demonstrated that he could play an angry guy. Jennifer Lawrence, on the other hand, was a last-minute casting choice. The part of Tiffany was a plum role and every actress in Hollywood auditioned. Russell was trying to settle on the right one when Lawrence sent in an audition via Skype – and nailed the part. As a result, the Best Actress Oscar category just got more competitive.