Excelsior! A Review of Silver Linings Playbook

On Sunday, I finally got to see Silver Linings Playbook.  I had planned to see this movie from the first time I saw previews for it, and then became even more intrigued when it started getting so much attention in awards season (it is currently nominated for a lot of Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Editing, and Best Adapted Screenplay…so yeah, it’s important).  However, my sister saw it and decided I wouldn’t like it.  She is *pretty* good at guessing how much I will like a movie, so I took her word for it and didn’t see it over break.  THEN, I saw about 20 Facebook posts about how much everyone liked it and decided to risk going against Katie and see it this weekend.  Luckily, I didn’t regret this decision.

silver linings playbook

Silver Linings Playbook pretty much follows the story line presented in the trailer.  Bradley Cooper plays Pat, a guy who was just released from a psychiatric facility following an incident where he beat up a guy he found sleeping with his wife.  Pat decides he needs to do whatever he can to convince his wife he is better so she will come back to him.  He does this by working out, losing weight, and doing his best to stay calm and avoid shouting outbursts (which happen a lot).

During this journey, he reconnects with some old friends and family, and meets Tiffany (played by Jennifer Lawrence), a young widow who lost her husband after a car accident.  Tiffany is pretty damaged like Pat, and has similar problems with not controlling her emotions and not having any filter when she talks.  They become friends after a bit, and Tiffany agrees to help Pat win back his wife if he helps her compete in a couples’ dance competition.  As expected, Pat becomes more grounded and reliable by focusing on this dance competition, and both he and Tiffany show signs of falling for each other despite working on separate goals.

silver linings playbook dance

I think that without the dance competition aspect, I wouldn’t have liked this movie as much.  I liked seeing the practice montage (I love movie montages), as well as the final routine.  Chris Tucker is in the film as Pat’s friend from the psych facility, and he is hilarious as he helps Tiffany and Pat practice and insists Pat be “more black” when he dances.  The audience at the theater was cracking up at this.  I think people were happy to see Tucker back in movies again since this is his first film since Rush Hour 3 in 2007.  My favorite part of the film was directly after the dance performance, but I won’t ruin it with details for those of you who want to see it.

chris tucker silver linings playbook

All the characters, even the most minor ones, are all a little odd.  Pat’s parents, played by Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver (both nominated for their supporting roles), are good examples of this.  The dad is obsessed with the Eagles football team, and shows a lot of OCD behavior when the games are on (remotes have to face a certain way, each game has to be taped, etc.).  His gambling over the games’ outcomes adds a little subplot to the movie and ties in points where Pat has to reconnect with his family, too (instead of just the women in his life).  I’m not quite sure how the mom puts up with her son and her husband’s offbeat behavior, but she does provide stability in the movie (and always looks a little frazzled to make her believable, haha).

silver linings playbook robert de niro

This movie is not one of my all time favorites, or even one I would need to see again, but I still liked it.  It’s different from a lot of films out right now because it is a bit more realistic.  People get into fights a lot, and the victories aren’t so wondrous and magical like you’d expect from a movie.  They are just simple moments of joy to bring a few characters just enough happiness to be content with life.  I suppose this sums up why the movie has “Silver Linings” in the title : )


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