Thursday Night Movie Club
Silver Linings Playbook
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Release Date: 25 December 2012

Director: David O. Russell
Bradley Cooper
Jennifer Lawrence
Robert De Niro
Jacki Weaver
Chris Tucker
Anupam Kher
John Ortiz
Shea Whigham
Julia Stiles
Paul Herman
Dash Mihok
Matthew Russell
Cheryl Williams
Patrick McDade
Brea Bee
Pat Sr.
Dr. Cliff Patel
Officer Keogh
Ricky D'Angelo
Tiffany's Mother
Tiffany's Father
Silver Linings Playbook poster Silver Linings Playbook poster Silver Linings Playbook poster
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings PlaybookJust about the time you may be telling yourself, "They just don't make 'em like they used to", along comes Silver Linings Playbook. This is a romantic comedy with lots heart but no schmaltz. Two dysfunctional young adults find love hiding in a silver lining and in the process better the lives of everyone they touch.

Pat (Bradley Cooper) has just been released from an eight-month stint in a mental hospital. Pat is bi-polar. A violent outburst has lead to a court agreement and now Pat is free to resume his life, as long as he follows the court's directions. Pat comes out with a fresh, albeit annoying, outlook on life. Pat is searching for the proverbial "silver lining" in black clouds. His life has changed forever. He becomes almost obsessed knowing he can show the world the "New Pat" and in the process patch things up with his wife.

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings PlaybookHis good friend Ronnie (John Ortiz) invites Pat to a dinner party. Pat isn't realy "into" dinner parties. He arrives wearing a Philadelphia Eagles jersey while everyone else has dressed up for the occassion. At the party, Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), Ronnie's sister-in-law. Tiffany has her own demons. She reacts with a foul mouth and knows "bullshit" when she hears it. Tiffany won't stand for lies.

Now the subtle genius of Silver Linings Playbook shines through. Revovering alcoholics/addicts begin to realize what their problems are. Also, they can spot the same traits in others. Alcoholics know all about lying and deception. They can spot dishonesty a mile away. "Never kid a kidder."

Due to their shared neuroses, Pat and Tiffany form an uneasy relationship. Tiffany wants to enter a dance competition to help her get over her dead husband. But she needs a partner. Pat, obsessed with gettng back with his wife Nikki (Brea Bee), is easily conned into being Tiffany's partner on the condition she deliver a letter to Nikki. Nikki has a restraining order on Pat.

Jacki Weaver and Robert DeNiro in Silver Linings PlaybookLife at home is more screwed up for Pat than meeting Tiffany. Pat Sr. (Robert DeNiro) is having financial troubles. To keep the family afloat, he has started a sports booking operation. Pat is barely in the door after arriving home when the Eagles score a touchdown. Pat Sr. is convinced Pat is a good luck charm. Pat Sr. wants Pat to spend every Sunday, or whenever the Eagles play, perched next to his father. Pat Sr. sees this as an opportunity to reconnect with his estranged son. Pat finds this a hinderance to his new-found freedom.

Worlds collide when Pat is torn between reconnecting with his father, his committment to Tiffany and the dance contest, and Pat's obsession with reconnecting with his wife. Everyone in Pat's life pulls him in different directions. They all question his commitment to them. Amazingly, Tiffany comes to the rescue using sports stats to show Pat Sr. his thinking is incorrect. Pat Sr. is stunned, momentarily, then replies, "I like her."

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings PlaybookSilver Linings Playbook is a touching, emotional, sad, exhilirating, and very funny film. Bradley Cooper is fantastic as Pat. Cooper has a motor-mouth that can rival Robert Downey Jr. for rapidly spitting out his lines. Cooper means well but therapy in the institution and with his therapist have given Pat an unbridled positive atttitude. He is almost obsessed with finding his silver lining. He is convinced this means he destined to reunite with his estranged wife regardless of restraining orders. Cooper is at his heart-warming best depicting Pat's growing love for Tiffany even though he is the last person to see it. The best thing in his life is right in front of him. In fact, she throws herself at him. Pat still cannot see what Tiffany has to offer. He is living with blinders on.

Jennifer Lawrence is exception portraying Tiffany. After the sudden death of her husband, Tiffany sunk into depression and sex addiction. She was fired from her job because everyone in the office was fighting over her. Tiffany shares a common element with Pat: medications. Tiffany is the whore with a heart of gold. But the angel has a broken wing. Like Pat, she is looking for something good in her life. She wants to take a shot at a dance competition, something her husband would never do. She "cons" Pat into being her partner. Even Pat's psychiatrist thinks it would be good therapy for Pat to help Tiffany.

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings PlaybookTiffany is foul-mouthed, shockingly so, but she is comfortable in who she is. She is honest as the day is long and won't stand for anyone's lies. When her own sister refers to her in the third-party, Tiffany goes off like a firecracker. Jennifer Lawrence captures Tiffany perfectly. Tiffany is tired of helping other but getting nothing in return. This may seem selfish, but Tiffany will no longer be taken advantage of by anyone. In one of the many fabulous scenes, Pat defends Tiffany from an ex-coworker who comes to her house. Tiffany hears every word. The subtle expression on Lawrence's face speaks volumes.

Robert DeNiro is great playing Pat Sr. Like Pat, Pat Sr. is obsessed with the Philadelphia Eagles football team. Pat Sr. has lost track of his son to the degree that Pat's photo no longer hangs on the wall next to his brother. Pat Sr. is so focused on the "ju-ju" Pat brings to the Eagles that he risks everything betting on the Eagles. He holds and Eagles handkerchief during the games. The three remote controllers for the TV must be positioned just right. Pat coming home after 8 months is the best thing to happen to Pat Sr. DeNiro captures all the emotions of Pat Sr. He goes from questioning whether Pat is OK to be released, to trying to reconnect with his son, to doing the unthinkable, watching Pat and Tiffany dance. The pride, admiration and love for his son is unmistakeable.

There are plenty of surprises and surprising moments in Silver Linings Playbook. Many are quick. Many are subtle. Many are just outright hilarious. Pat Sr.'s confrontation with his friend and betting adversary Randy (Paul Herman) is a show stopper. Pat Sr. is egging on Randy making more ludicrous bets while the family screams in horror trying to stop him. Tiffany has confidence in Pat Sr. and her chances of scoring well in the dance competition that she backs up Pat Sr.'s boasts. Many other scenes, and there are quite a few, change from laughter to pin-dropping silence as a pivotal moment is reached. How will a character react? Poor Tiffany. There are moments when you can see she clearly wants to hit Pat with a two-by-four, which Pat deserves.

Silver Linings Playbook is a fantastic romantic comedy. The film is an emotional roller-coaster. Hop on board for a fun ride. Then get back in line and ride the ride over and over. Enjoy!