Although mired in dysfunction, the lead characters in my # 15 film of the year reach for life's silver linings.
15. “Silver Linings Playbook” - Plenty of romantic comedies frustrate by following familiar formulas and feature two A (or A-) list Hollywood stars with little or no chemistry, so I certainly had my doubts about this Bradley Cooper/Jennifer Lawrence vehicle.
After watching David O. Russell’s film, I’m happy to say my clouds of doubt completely disappeared. In Russell’s very entertaining picture, “Silver Linings Playbook”, Cooper and Lawrence give terrific performances and show warm on-screen chemistry as two dysfunctional individuals looking for answers in all the wrong places.
Tiffany (Lawrence) suffers from a loss of her own, as her husband, a police officer, recently died in the line of duty.
With Pat taking maniacal doses of his self-prescribed therapy and Tiffany sleeping with everyone in her office, they try to cope with their down circumstances, but don’t particular gain much traction on their own.
Can they help each other? Well, what do you think?
Although the end results might be predictable, Russell’s path to the film’s finish line is not.
His script weaves through minefields of family, friends and the battles with one's self through unforeseen turns, while it effortlessly balances comedic and dramatic tones with touching moments.
Although the picture includes romance, men really shouldn’t be scared away from this non-traditional rom-com, as the film provides enough De Niro moments and NFL football references to keep the guys interested, while Cooper and Lawrence dance - figuratively and literally - across the screen.
The biggest surprise of all is probably Cooper.
Although surrounded by praised acting veterans, Cooper shines on his own and stands toe-to-toe with Lawrence's acting gifts.
Lawrence rightfully deserved an Oscar nomination, but Cooper certainly earned his as well.
The film earned a total of eight Academy Award nominations, so perhaps this silver lining will turn into Oscar gold.
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