Monday, November 26, 2012

MOVIE REVIEW: Silver Linings Playbook

This movie review for "Silver Linings Playbook" was written by guest blogger Liz Parker...

Silver Linings Playbook is an interesting movie in that it imitates real life more than we care to admit. It's a "slice of life" movie that can move quite slowly at times, but Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence have great chemistry that make the movie worth seeing.

Pat (Cooper) has spent the past eight months in a mental hospital in Baltimore, after an incident involving him catching his wife in the act of cheating with one of her teacher colleagues. His mother (Jacki Weaver) checks him out of the hospital, and he returns home to their house, where she and his father, Pat Sr. (Robert DeNiro) live. He has faith that his wife, Nikki (Brea Bee), will see how much he's changed (and how fit he's gotten) and come running back to him; he doesn't count on learning that she has moved away, however, and that the restraining order against him is still in place.

One of his good friends (John Ortiz) and his wife, Veronica (Julia Stiles), invite Pat over for dinner, and he accepts; he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) there, who is Veronica's sister. Though a lot younger than Pat, Tiffany has recently become widowed, and his friend tells him not to talk to her about it; being that Pat has no filter, he of course asks her what happened. They strike up a strange friendship of sorts, with Tiffany promising Pat that she can get a letter to Nikki, if he will do something for her in return: she needs a partner for a partners-only dance competition. He's reluctant, but need Tiffany to get to Nikki, so he agrees.

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence have fantastic chemistry together in this movie, and apparently they will be starring in another movie together, Serena, which will be out in 2013. DeNiro and Weaver are excellent as Cooper's parents, as well, and DeNiro is similar to his son in that he's got a little bipolar in him - he's obsessed with Philadelphia football, and he thinks Pat is his and the team's good luck charm; he can't go to the games himself, unfortunately, because he was banned from the stadium for life after punching out an opposing team's fan. Jennifer Lawrence proves that she's more that Katniss Everdeen in this movie, too, and that she's rather adept at playing crazy, as she tries to keep up with Cooper (also adept at playing crazy here) and his crazy mood swings.

Yes, see this film. At the time of this writing, the film had 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and I had heard that it premiered to high acclaim at TIFF (the Toronto International Film Festival) as well. I thought the movie was just okay at first, but as the film went on, I started to like it more and more, even though it was slow at times. The dancing subplot culminates at the end of the movie as well, and we get a Dancing with the Stars type competition, as DeNiro's character exclaimed. This film is unlike anything Bradley Cooper has ever done before - don't expect to see a Hangover-esque performance here - yet I can't imagine anyone else playing the role of Pat, or working so well with Lawrence's character.

Silver Linings Playbook is in theaters today, November 21st, and is rated R with a runtime of 122 minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.

*Author's Note: I saw a screening of this film on October 17th. The version I saw may or may not be the final version of the movie.

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Liz Parker is a University of Michigan graduate with a degree in Creative Writing and Literature, and she loves going to the movies. Visit her at her movie blog Yes/No Films
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