Written by Anthony Sargon
Romantic comedies have become quite tough to pull off. They’ve gotten increasingly formulaic, and they weirdly lack a crucial element: chemistry between the lead actors. Well, to this reviewer’s delight, “Silver Linings Playbook” is not only a great romantic comedy, but also one of the best films of the year.
The story revolves around Pat (Bradley Cooper), a guy just getting out of a mental institution, trying to get his life back together. He lost his wife, house, and job, and he’s now staying with his parents until he can get back on his feet. He then meets Tiffany (the extremely sexy Jennifer Lawrence), who’s also struggled with depression, and the two form a very special bond over the course of the film.
The acting in this film is phenomenal. You really buy everything that Cooper and Lawrence say, and the chemistry between them is palpable. The scene where they’re first introduced to each other is a pleasure to watch, with both of them being extremely inappropriate, yet still very likeable. The supporting cast also does a great job, and Robert De Niro gives a refreshingly non-lazy performance as Pat’s OCD dad. It’s also nice to see Chris Tucker doing his thing outside of a “Rush Hour” movie.
Director David O. Russell should be commended for the great screenplay (which he adapted from Matthew Quick’s book), as well as his sure-handed directing. It’s not easy making a film about mental illness approachable, let alone a romantic comedy, but by treating the subject with a sense of respect and honesty, everything that unfolds on-screen is pure magic. The film should land him an Oscar nomination for best director. Either way, he deserves it.
The film isn’t without its faults, though. The movie can’t fully escape the barriers of a romantic comedy, and things begin to get a little predictable by the end. That however, does little to hurt the film, given how strong the performances are. The movie is truly a showcase for both Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, and the final product mainly succeeds because of them.
“Silver Linings Playbook” is a very satisfying film. Everything from the acting to the directing is spot-on, and it’s a shame that the film is getting such a limited release. If you like good acting and fleshed-out characters in your romantic comedies, “Silver Linings Playbook” is not to be missed.
Numerical Score: 8.5/10
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