16 November 2012 | jdesando
It's a platinum lining, not just silver.
"I'm remaking myself." Pat (Bradley Cooper)
Silver Linings Playbook doesn't play by the current romantic comedy book—No scatology, nudity, f-bombing, or feminist and gay bashing. It's simply a smart playbook about the mental institution's recently-released Pat Solitano (Cooper, shedding his Hangover boy-man shtick), who may be saner than his dad, an OCD gambler (Robert De Niro), and Bradley's new friend, Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence).
But that comparison is all relative because director David O. Russell (remember his funky family in Flirting with Disaster?) allows each character in this dramedy to become whole and interesting without becoming marginalized.
After some serious outbursts of anger, Pat starts training for a dance competition with Tiffany in order to make contact with and eventually impress his estranged wife, Nikki (Brea Bee).
The eventualities of the story are not half as stimulating as the plot along the way, some of the best scenes centered around the family squabbling about the Philadelphia Eagles or Pat's relationship with that "slut," Tiffany. When Pat confronts his parents at 4 AM about the deficiency of Hemingway's ending to A Farewell to Arms and when Russell places under another scene Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash singing Girl from the North Country, you know you're in a film that follows no particular playbook.
The dynamics as fostered by these superior actors are some of the best ensemble work this year. In fact, this is so far the best of the romantic comedies in recent memory. Pat and Tiffany may be bi-polar, but they can dance the stars into your eyes.
Jennifer Lawrence plays so different a character from those in Winter's Bone and Hunger Games that it may take you a scene or two to recognize her. But when she dances, you'll confirm she's one of the best young actresses in Hollywood, and this film one of the best of the year.