Silver Linings Playbook is a different kind of romantic comedy. While addressing the challenges faced by those diagnosed with the bipolar disorder, the film succeeds in treating a very serious subject with humor.
When the film opens, Pat Solitano Jr. (Bradley Cooper) is standing in the corner of his room in a Baltimore mental hospital, talking to himself. His mother (Jacki Weaver) shows up to sign him out, against doctors’ orders and without having consulted her husband (Robert DeNiro).
Thrown in the middle of Pat’s chaotic life, many questions come to mind: Why was Pat locked up for eight months? Why have his wife and former school obtained restraining orders against him? Why is Pat Sr. so obsessed with the Philadelphia Eagles football team?
My first impulse was to agree with the doctors. Pat Jr. refuses to take his medication, over-reacts to a song and demonstrates poor impulse control. After flinging a copy of A Farewell to Arms though a closed window at four o’clock in the morning, he awakens his parents with a maniacal rant against Ernest Hemingway. At a diner, he orders Raisin Bran so his female companion won’t think it’s a date.
Sparks fly when he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a grieving widow facing her own demons. Tiffany assumes he will be another sexual conquest, while Pat Jr. wishes only to reconnect with his wife. After agreeing to a deal with Tiffany, the two damaged souls learn to dance together in preparation for a ballroom competition.
I was most impressed by Jennifer Lawrence’s performance. It is not surprising that she won a Golden Globe and she is definitely a contender for an Oscar. Also nominated for both awards, Bradley Cooper captures the intensity and physicality of the bipolar Pat Jr. Robert DeNiro nails the character of a failing bookie with anger management problems and an intense OCD relationship with the Philadelphia Eagles.
A must-see film that is worthy of all the Golden Globe and Oscar nominations it has received.