New Year's celebrations and football games go hand in hand. The 2012 film "Silver Linings Playbook" sets an unlikely love story against a football backdrop, making it appropriate viewing for New Years, particularly for those who prefer films to football games.
"Silver Linings Playbook" stars Bradley Cooper as Pat Solitano, a teacher who has just been released from a mental institution. He was admitted to the institution after beating up a man he caught in the shower with his wife. After being released, Pat hopes to reconnect with his estranged wife, but because of a restraining order, he cannot see her. He meets Tiffany (played by Jennifer Lawrence), the sister of his friend's wife. Tiffany is a young widow battling her own demons. Pat writes a letter for his wife, which Tiffany can give her. She says she will do it if he becomes her partner for a local dance competition. As they train for the competition, they fall for each other.
"Silver Linings Playbook" is directed by David O. Russell, who does a great job balancing the humorous and serious elements of the story. In one of the most memorable scenes in the film, Pat wakes up his long-suffering parents in the middle of the night because he cannot find his wedding video. This scene is very funny, yet you feel sorry for Pat.
The performances are excellent. Bradley Cooper earned an Oscar nomination for his first-rate portrayal of Pat. Jennifer Lawrence won an Oscar for her equally strong performance. Another great performance is by Robert De Niro. He plays Pat's father, an avid football fan who often tries unsuccessfully to get his son to watch the games with him. The Solitano family's passion for football both sabotages and nurtures their relationships.
"Silver Linings Playbook" is a great choice for both film and football fans.