There’s a few things that initially turned me off Silver Linings Playbook. One, was a decision for the film to be marketed as ‘rom-com of the year’ erghh. But, you can’t and shouldn’t disregard this film. David O. Russell one of Hollywoods greats brought us Three Kings, remember that? The Movie that came free with pretty much every DVD player in the late 90’s, The Fighter- starring Mark Wahlberg and resultant Oscar winner Christian ‘angry’ Bale. Lest we forget, Ron Burgundy! that’s right Anchorman was brought to you by this sneaker wearing New Yorker. Thanks to these now classics-and taking my tablets instead of spewing them out- my cache has been cleared and i’ve watched one of the best love stories (not chick flicks) of recent time.
Silver Linings Playbook is the exploration of Bipolar sufferer Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper). Following on from a violent incident with his wife and another man, Pat is discharged from a Marlyand mental facility. He is sheltered under the responsible wing of his mother (Dalores – Jacki Weaver) who moves him back home. At his parents house he finds his now jobless dad (Pat Snr -Robert De Niro) attempting to fortify his dream of opening a restaurant, by raising money as a bookmaker. Pat uninterested by his siblings obsession with the Philadelphia Eagles, and his dads foggy displacement of him being a ‘lucky charm’, decides to pursue his wife and the chance (albeit slim) of winning her back.
Pat – ‘This is what I learned at the hospital. You have to do everything you can, you have to work your hardest, and if you do, you have a shot at a silver lining.’
A forced dinner date with a mysterious recent widow/sex addict/fellow bipolar sufferer -Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), ensures a relationship as kooky as Raisin Bran for dinner. Pat spurred on by the promise of help in delivering a letter to his wife, he agrees with Tiffany to enter their average skills into a dance competition (think, Come Strictly). Simultaneously his dad piles on the pressure, forcing him to an Eagles match as his rabbits foot. Its at this point Pat’s pulled like a bungee cord among his Dad and Tiffany, testing his rational strength. The films climax swells as his dad enters a high stake all or nothing-restaurant savings-bet, with a parle involving Pat and Tiffany’s dance off.
Tiffany: ‘Can we get through one fucking conversation without you reminding me that my goddamn husband’s dead?’
The films pace is just right, and Danny Elfmans title theme is more than fit for purpose. It opposes his usual epic jazmodic orchestral sound ,and permeates a more personable tone. This perfectly marries to O. Russell’s cleverly chosen closeups, which give the audience a visceral involvement, evoking genuine empathy for this worryingly good looking pair. As we reach a warm climax the films in your face style- that have given a weighing sense of character imprisonment-are beautifully juxtaposed, under bokehed lights the camera races away from the couples first kiss, lifting their cerebral shackles, finding in-sync freedom. nawww.
Pat – ‘I’m sorry it took so long for me to catch up. I just got stuck.’
Truth be known it was after witnessing David O. Russell’s BAFTA acceptance speech for best adapted screenplay, and the wall of masculinity that is Bradley Cooper balling his eyes out, that made me realise the stories contents would be pretty close to home. The thing I really like about Silver Linings Playbook, it makes you think about your own self-conclusions. As have with; people who society deems to be different, I judged this book by its cover, guilty! I admit it, I was completely wrong to do so. D0n’t get me wrong, it has teeny tiny amounts of chick flick-ness, but it houses much more weight, earnest and a welcome installation of acumen ,that we could all do with!