Based on a novel by the same name, ‘Silver Linings Playbook‘ may not be the most memorable of movies. But it definitely has an inescapable charm driven by an ensemble of affable characters and sterling performances.
A testimony to that being the 8 Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress.
Written & Directed by David O. Russell (director of The Fighter), the movie deviates to a large extent from the book as well as genre of RomCom (Romantic Comedies).
The movie follows the life of Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) and his near ones. Pat is a mentally not-normal person who has recently rejoined his parents after a brief stint at a correctional facility. We soon learn of his strained relationship with his wife who has sought a distance from him through a legal restraining order.
However, Pat refuses to accept the fact that his wife has left him for good while everyone around him is convinced about it. He refuses to accept that the fact is determined to set things right and get back to his previous life; so much so that it defines his craziness.
Along the line, Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence); someone more mysterious and crazier than him. What follows next is no big surprise. But, how it unfolds is surprisingly fresh and quite charming.
Coming back to the ensemble of impressionable characters and sparking performances.
Jacki Weaver plays Dolores Solitano (Oscar nominated performance for Best supporting Actress); the caring mother who defies the court’s suggestion to bring her son back home from the mental institution. Her portrayal of the over protective and concerned mother makes an noteworthy performance. Robert De Niro is cast as Pat’s father (Oscar nominated performance for Best supporting Actor); a pensioner and die-hard fan of the local football team. He delivers an impressionable performance in a character that juggles between being a loving father, superstitious gambler, an angry husband and even a man who can beat up his 30 year old son to teach some discipline.
Chris Tucker (as Danny) and John Ortiz (as Ronnie) cast as Pat’s cell-mate from the facility and neighbor respectively. They both lend valuable laughs with their spirited performancess.
|Anupam kher + Cast of Silver Linings
|Veteran artist Anupam Kher plays the role of Dr. Cliff Patel, the consulting psychiatrist for Pat & Tiffany. His screen presence is brief and character not very significant to the plot. The Bollywood audience have seen him delivering more powerful performances.
Frankly speaking, Pat’s character suffers from few inconsistencies. His level of craziness is inconsistent along the length of the movie. Several times during the movie, one is unsure if Pat is really crazy or is it just has anger management issues.
Bradley Cooper has done a better than average job in portraying Pat (Oscar nominated performance for Best Actor). He is very convincing in the first half of the movie after which the inconsistencies surface.
Unfortunately for Pat, Forrest Gump & Raymond (from Rain Man) have pushed the bar for such characters till exosphere.
Unmistakably, the single largest charming aspect of the movie is Jennifer Lawrence‘s performance as Tiffany (Oscar nominated for best Actress). Tiffany is an instinctive, emotionally spontaneous and the girl next door with a mystery buried deep inside her. Jennifer portays this mystery and craziness with a flair and conviction that makes the audience curious and connect with her role. Her acting is convincingly consistent all along the movie.
Another highlight of the movie is that the movie never slips into pure comedy mode. In over a large part of the movie, the plot takes itself quite seriously. The part in which the not-so-normal protagonists try to make sense of the seemingly abnormal world is quite convincing.
In fact, the serious confrontations between Jennifer & Pat about each other’s craziness forms some the most powerful moments in the movie.
In spite of a plot that strikes the right balance between seriousness and romantic drama, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ is a movie made special by sterling performances.
My Rating: 7.5/10
ps: I’ve intentionally NOT include a link to the trailer. They seem to be giving up too much about the movie. Avoid if possible.