David O. Russell follows-up his Oscar hit The Fighter with this romantic comedy led by Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert DeNiro about a bi-polar patient, a dance competition, and someone obsessed with the Philadelphia Eagles. My review here.
Let me lead off with the fact that the Academy did a good job recognizing this movie especially its cast. Cooper gives easily the performance of his career so far, Lawrence continues to establish herself as a force, DeNiro reminds us that he can still knock parts out of the park, and Russell gives us yet another example that he is a great director. That being said, I, myself, loved this movie (if you couldn’t tell.)
This romantic comedy is an odd one, Russell does a fantastic job establishing an almost bipolar feeling throughout the film that gets you inside Pat’s (Cooper) mind. At one moment everything is fine, the soundtrack is chipper and he is proving to be getting better and then suddenly like on a date with Tiffany (Lawrence) he looses it and reverts to what he was at the very beginning of the film. Russell’s directing in situations like this create the film’s tension and help the audience to compassion with Pat.
The duo of Cooper and Lawrence was what really blew me away. Like I mentioned earlier, Cooper gave the best performance of his career so far. He hooked me into his character and more importantly made me forget that I was watching Bradley Cooper. While he may not win the Oscar, it is nice to see him get nominated and hopefully he will do more films like this because he won me over.
Lawrence has already been nominated once for Winter’s Bone in 2010 and has been in two blockbusters (X-Men First Class and The Hunger Games) to establish herself in the past few years. This movie though honestly might be my favorite performance though. She could lure you in and fall in love with her but then switch and become intense and mirror her own mental illness. While I found Cooper’s performance the best, I felt like she was a very close second and deserved her nomination.
The problem with the nominations I have is with Jacki Weaver who plays Pat’s mom, Dolores. While she did a great job I felt like she didn’t garner enough screen time or make an impact on Pat as much as Pat Sr. (De Niro) did. He had his own issues with OCD and the Eagles and gives a wonderful B-story that adds some depth to the family and gives Pat adversity to fulfilling his agreement with Tiffany of being in a dance competition.
I also want to note that yet again the soundtrack is great. Much like The Fighter, Russell injects popular music but instead of just commercializing the song, he has a purpose for it, making the movie not only more accessible but also gives it a distinct modern mood that make the story more relate able even if you don’t know what Pat is dealing with.
Silver Linings Playbook is a romantic comedy with a dramatic, realistic side that is reminiscent of Love and Other Drugs but better due to a cast of great performances, strong directing, and a depth of stories that give more to the characters than just the story on Pat’s bipolar disorder. It is a film worth checking out and should be a major player at the Oscars this year.