As awards season is revving up, I am scurrying to see any potential Academy Awards contenders before the nominations are announced and when the prestigious Oscar statues are handed out on the night of February 24th. Last night I got to see Moonrise Kingdom, later I’ll see Beasts of the Southern Wild, but earlier today I got to see Silver Linings Playbook.
The premise is simple and practically writes itself: a bipolar and emotionally unstable but optimistic man, Pat (Bradley Cooper), is released from a psych ward to live with his parents until he gets his affairs in order. What sent him over the edge in the first place was the witnessing of his wife’s infidelity all while their wedding song played, which triggers a strong nerve in him. Pat’s father (Robert De Niro) is an avid and superstitious Philadelphia Eagles fan, and his mother (Jacki Weaver) serves as the anchor in this unstable household. As Pat is attempting to win back his wife by getting back in shape and bettering himself, he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a young widow who is just as imbalanced as Pat is.
Pat and Tiffany’s relationship plays out like any classic screwball comedy. As the back and forth dialogue ensues so does the understandings of their characters as they relate and understand each other. As Tiffany says, Pat truly says “more inappropriate things than appropriate things.” They’re relationship is as ever changing from love to hate in a blink of an eye. Never had I enjoyed Cooper’s work so much as his anxious explosions of misunderstanding and stress boil into a gripping and sometimes hilarious combinations. Lawrence pushes her boundaries of charisma which should land her at least a nomination for best actress in the Oscar race this year.
The snappy and overlapping dialogue is a surprisingly coherent wonder which is due to the writing as well as the editing. Even though director David O. Russell doesn’t bring anything new to the table in terms of shooting uniquely, he doesn’t do anything to detract from the narrative. But, to his credit, the even changing tone is done tremendously and without hiccup.
Silver Linings Playbook is a unconventional rom-com which leans more to the comedic side than the romantic. It’s about finding a person who can mold in to your insanity than changing yourself for another person. I’ve never been one for rom-coms in the traditional sense, but Silver Linings has laughs, jeers, shock and drama to satisfy any viewers. Really it’s a fresh look and feel of a genre that has been pounded out and routine.