March 1, 2013 at 10:25 PM
Movie: “Silver Linings Playbook” Is a Step in the Right Direction
February 28, 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Nominated for eight Academy Awards with a win in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role category for Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook” has been in the news quite a bit lately. The film, like the novel it is based on of the same name, covers a wide range of issues from family dynamics and mental health to loss and relationships.
After a an extremely violent incident and then spending several months in a mental institution, former teacher Pat (Bradley Cooper, “The Hangover”) is released into the care of his parents Dolores (Jacki Weaver, “The Five Year Engagement”) and Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro, “Taxi Driver”). Having lived his life as previously undiagnosed bipolar, Pat is forced to begin rebuilding his life and for him the most important part of this is getting back his wife, who he is not allowed to have contact with due to a restraining order. To help him transition, old friends invite him to dinner where he meets an emotionally disturbed young woman, Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence, “Hunger Games”), who then proceeds to pop up whenever he is out jogging. The two strike up a tentative friendship and when Tiffany offers to deliver letters to Pat’s wife for him, he is overjoyed. In exchange for helping him, Tiffany demands that Pat becomes her dance partner for an amateur dance competition.
Maintaining a routine and taking medication helps Pat keep himself level, but his bookie father, who believes that he is a good luck charm for the Philadelphia Eagles, insists that he spend time with the family, which ends up cutting into his dance rehearsal time with Tiffany. Pat Sr. ends up in a parlay bet depending on the Eagles winning against the Cowboys and with Tiffany and Pat getting at least a score of 5 on their dance at the competition or he will lose all of his money. With the bet looming over them and mixed emotions between the pair, it all boils down to whether or not Pat and Tiffany can keep themselves together on the night of their performance.
With all of the buzz that “Silver Linings Playbook” has received in the past month or so the majority of it seems to have been focused on Jennifer Lawrence’s performance. She undoubtedly did a great job with her performance, but Bradley Cooper should have been getting the attention as his portrayal of a man struggling with being bipolar was very powerful. As most people are used to seeing him do comedy ala “The Hangover” this film really showed his range and just how good of an actor he can be. The supporting cast is all fantastic and well suited for their roles. A few of the scenes were so intense it was almost uncomfortable to witness, like you were intruding on an intensely private moment. It was also refreshing to see mental illness dealt with in a serious matter instead of for laughs in a movie for once.
My biggest complaint about the movie is that the focus seemed more on how the people around Cooper’s character dealt with his illness and not as much on how Cooper’s character dealt with it; I would have liked to see more of Cooper’s day to day in coping. Overall the film is a step in the right direction on seriously portraying mental illness on the big screen and would definitely help a person not acquainted with mental illness on any type of personal level begin to see it in a new, non-stereotypical light.
“Silver Linings Playbook” is rated R for language and some sexual content/ nudity and runs 122 minutes. It is in theaters now.
Jennifer Fratangelo is a 2010 graduate of Montclair State University, Summa Cum Laude, and a 2008 graduate of Sussex County Community College. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies with a concentration in Public Relations and an Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts.
On her spare time she enjoys exercising, traveling and has an obsession with all things movie-related.
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