What a huge difference between a movie nominated for best picture like “Silver Linings Playbook” and the average movie. The average movie might give us a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours holding hands in the dark, “Silver Linings Playbook” gives us a chance to inhabit the lives of others, in this case, very interesting, attractive and badly flawed others.
I watch emotionally engaging movies only with reluctance, which nearly kept me from viewing “Silver Linings Playbook.” I would have missed a really engaging, extremely well-written and directed film performed by outstanding young actors. This was written by David O. Russell and also directed by him.
He also both wrote and directed “Three Kings,” the sideways look at soldiers in the first Iraq War. Like “Three Kings,” “Silver Linings Playbook” is an imaginative piece of writing.
The story is about a husband (Bradley Cooper) who is confined to a mental health facility. He had anger management issues after finding his wife with a co-worker in a compromising situation.
Cooper is brilliant in this role. He nails the manic, troubled man trying to re-enter the world and rebuild his life.
His co-star is Jennifer Lawrence, lately of “The Hunger Games.” She has moved from her role in an entertaining and uber-popular teen flick to high art. She is asked to step up her game — a lot — and she does it with ease. Her character also has issues.
As if we didn’t already know, if the producers make an exceptional movie viewers will notice and reward the producers. It seems an easy lesson to learn, but too many producers just don’t believe it. In this case this moving testimony to human resilience and the awesome healing power of romantic love cost a mere $21 million to make, but it has already brought in three times that and will do much more.
The film is rated for R for subject matter and some naked people and violence. It runs exactly two hours and two minutes.
Besides Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in the leading roles, there is a supporting cast that ranges from strong to spectacular. The spectacular comes with Robert DeNiro. DeNiro has been given a wonderful, complex, selfish, loving father to play and he makes the most of it. Julia Stiles and Chris Tucker round out the cast. Tucker fills a straight dramatic role instead of his sometimes classic comedy roles.
This four saw blade movie is billed as a comedy, but I see it as a drama about a man and a woman who overcome their own worst selves.
I liked it very much. For movie lovers who want something more meaningful and more meaty than a shoot ’em up, “Silver Linings Playbook” is the A ticket.