Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, John Ortiz, Julia Stiles, Anupam Kher.
Rated R. Comedy/Drama/Romance. Running Time: 2 hours 2 minutes.
There is a definite pattern developing in my personal movie watching experiences. The movies I really want to see are disappointing the hell out of me (see Flight), and the ones I don’t want to see or just go because Maria wants to see it, end up blowing me away. Well, you can add Silver Linings Playbook to that list. I really like Jennifer Lawrence from the Hunger Games, this kid is the real deal, and her turn here is amazing. But Bradley Cooper carrying a movie? I didn’t see any shot of that. The Hangovers, Wedding Crashers, he’s a supporting actor who plays the cocky, good looking douche. I recently was TOTALLY wrong about the talent of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and now Cooper has me eating my words again. He plays Pat, a guy freshly released from a mental hospital (I’ll let you find out the reason he was in there, it’s too good to spoil), who must go live with his parents (De Niro and Weaver) because he has nowhere else to go. Pat is a train wreck and won’t admit it, and soon he meets his female counterpart, the equally damaged Tiffany (Lawrence). There hasn’t been onscreen chemistry like these two since Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. While they were so cute together, Cooper and Lawrence are incindiary, but you can’t take your eyes off them.
Jennifer Lawrence. She most definitely embodies her Hunger Games character’s image, the girl on fire. She first appeared on our radar for her Oscar nomination for Best Actress in Winter’s Bone and the girl has not slowed down since. I just find myself more impressed with each new role she takes on. Her Golden Globe award winning character in Silver Linings Playbook is so exquisitely executed that I began comparing her flaws as well as her virtues to young women I know in real life, including myself. Her sense of humor, strength, vulnerability and unapologetic sexuality is palpable, which is why the chemistry between Tiffany and Pat is so tremendous. Bradley Cooper, you sly dog. Who knew you weren’t just another pretty face? I have always loved his portrayal of the juvenile Phil in the Hangovers, but I had no idea he could pull off a role like this with such conviction. These two lead characters do a fantastic job and they also have a superb seasoned cast surrounding them including De Niro, Weaver and Stiles. SLP bravely ventures into new territory when examining mental illness. Especially in the current climate where so many people are trying different medications to aid their illnesses or conditions. It is quite a feat to be able to address such a sensitive and serious subject with candid humor. This movie made me laugh out loud on numerous occassions. And it also made me feel nervous, excited and happy. I cheered for these two people to find happiness and success. In fact, I had a vested interest in it.
Bradley Cooper is the revelation of SLP, but the supporting cast doesn’t take a backseat either. De Niro is perfect as Pat Sr., a reluctant bookie and Philadelphia Eagles fanatic. I could relate to him on a couple of levels. First I’m a diehard Patriots fan, so I understood all of his superstitions and fluctuating emotions. And, having attended the Eagles/Patriots Super Bowl some years back, I’ve witnessed the passion, veracity and uncontrolled behavior of Eagles fans up close. Also worth noting are Anupam Kher as Pat’s psychiatrist, Dr. Patel. He turns out to be an Eagles fanatic too, and that makes for a hilarious scene. A surprisingly subdued Chris Tucker as Danny, a former, fellow patient and friend of Pat’s, is super in a small role. And John Ortiz as Pat’s best friend Ronnie , who is seemingly well off and happily married, but is actually broke and miserable, round out a perfect group. In a side note, Maria and I met Mr. Ortiz in Las Vegas at the premiere party for the short-lived HBO series Luck. He played a crooked trainer, and he was quite gregarious when we introduced ourselves. Silver Linings Playbook had me laughing, crying and rooting for all the main characters. I loved it, and judging by the packed theater a full six weeks after it’s release date, I’d say word of mouth is lively. Here’s hoping we see Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper on screen together again soon!
I knew from first glance that I recognized John Ortiz, but I assumed it was from some previous role. I had totally forgotten about the meeting in Vegas. He was certainly a very gracious star, shaking hands and taking pictures with all the fans. Surprisingly, as Ross mentioned, the theatre was packed. We were expecting to be one of the few audience members and found ourselves struggling to find a convenient seat. SLP was well worth the wait and I’m estactic that we got to view it in the theatre. It is by far one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time and I was pleased that my company enjoyed it as well.
Ross’ Rating: 5 Gummy Bears out of 5.
Maria’s Rating: 4.5 Gummies.