Silver Linings Playbook Review

Preface

  • Okay.
  • So you many of you guys have been reading a lot of my posts for over a year now, and you know that I have my sarcastic remarks and my witty quips, but I’m not typically a self-centered person, I’m typically pretty humble.
  • And I don’t like to be super into myself, but today’s my birthday!
  • And though 16 is big cuz, hey you can drive! Or 18 is big cuz, oh hey you can vote! I’ve been waiting to turn 17 for a while.
  • Because 17 is the age you have to be to get into R-Rated movies alone.
  • So as my boyhood turns to manhood in the movie-community, I thought I should do something really special.
  • So here is my review of Silver Linings Playbook, which is my single favorite film of all time.
  • I’m serious!
  • Oh, it’s also my 200th post on this site, so it’s double-special!

Premise

  • Silver Linings Playbook is a 2012 film starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, and Chris Tucker.
  • And it focuses on Cooper’s character Pat Solitano who is struggling with bipolar disorder and who has recently witnessed his marriage fall apart before his eyes. But then he meets a woman with similar struggles, played by Jennifer Lawrence, and we see the two of them interact and just go through the ups-and-downs of life as they’re presented to them.
  • And this is a perfect film.
  • It is flawless.
  • Every thing about this movie works, starting with the phenomenal cast.

Cast and Characters

  • A lot of people will cite a performance that is just awe-inspiring to them and something that will live on for generations.
  • Bradley Cooper (not even J-Law! who I’ll get to) is my single favorite film performance in any movie. He is what makes this movie work so well.
  • He paints the picture of your average, everyday guy.
  • The fact that he has bipolar disorder is portrayed perfectly by Cooper, and you see the internal struggle he’s going through, but his sad comedic flare and the way he interacts with his friends is what makes him the DEFINITION of a well-rounded, thoroughly developed character who changes by the film’s conclusion.
  • Seeing this guy’s personal journey is interesting enough, with its own ups and downs but the fact that he has the rest of this cast to play with is what amplifies the film even more.
  • Listen, I know Daniel Day Lewis is a method actor and yeah he was pretty good in Lincoln, but Lincoln was a SNOOZE-FEST.
  • This was Bradley Cooper’s Oscar because even though he goes up with the rest of the cast he was the one that made this movie work.
    • I know Vince Vaughn and Mark Wahlberg were originally supposed to be in the role but Cooper defines it so much that I couldn’t picture any other actor, especially those guys, in this movie.
  • But the rest of this ensemble is phenomenal.
  • Starting with Jennifer Lawrence.
  • As many of you know, J-Law is my favorite actress in Hollywood.
  • And while Bradley Cooper portrays a more melancholy or happy-sad feeling to bipolar, Jennifer Lawrence is full out insane in this movie.
  • But she’s the type of insane that you see in one of your friends.
    • Everybody has that one friend that’s pretty out-there, and you will project them into Jennifer Lawrence in this movie.
  • You feel like a performance that’s all crazy would go way over-the-top, but Jennifer Lawrence shows emotion and her character is well-rounded and is handled beautifully by the director and portrayed so well by Jennifer Lawrence.
  • This movie is the prime example of getting good performances out of the actors in it, and I’ll talk more about this in the script, but they all interact with each other the way these characters would interact with each other.
  • As crazy as J-Law is in this movie, and as awkwardly relatable as Bradley Cooper is, every line of dialogue they exchange is beautiful.
  • Their characters are so fully realized and have such brilliant on-screen chemistry, the movie ultimately succeeds in making its characters the part you care about and the part you wish there was more of.
  • Robert De Niro was phenomenal in the movie too, he isn’t phoning it in. He has such a real layer of human emotion and his chemistry with Bradley Cooper is another big selling point in the movie.
  • Jacki Weaver doesn’t have a TON to do in the movie, but she’s another human character that just represents a real person better than most other actors in the business today.
  • Chris Tucker was great in the movie too. He had a smaller role too, though I loved how they used him. He was this additional character that represented a sense of hope to Pat, and that sense of hope was conveyed beautifully through the dialogue and the writing of this movie.

Writing

  • To discuss the writing of this movie, I need to explain just how perfect this movie really is.
  • Typically, a movie can be GREAT but there’s always one or two lines of dialogue that feel out of place, or just a little too excessive and unnecessary. But that’s still a movie that I can give a 5/5 to.
  • Silver Linings Playbook does not have one single line like that.
  • This is a movie that felt REAL.
  • This is a movie with characters that felt real, and everything they said sounded like something that a real person would actually say.
  • Every single line was so pure and so real.
  • Not in a Tarantino ‘man, this SCRIPT is so realistic’ way either, but in a heartfelt and meaningful way.
  • Like in a way that you watch the movie and you forget you’re watching a movie.
  • Sure, you go to the movies to just escape and watch movies like Avengers: Age of Ultron, which is a fantastic movie, but this felt like you weren’t watching a movie. Silver Linings Playbook just felt like you were watching real people live their lives.
  • Every line of dialogue that was spoken felt real, every character felt real, and every situation felt real.
  • And part of that is the themes of this movie, which I’ll delve into a bit before I get to David O. Russell’s direction.

Themes

  • So the acting is superb and the script is unlike anything I’d ever heard on screen before. (It’s one of the few screenplays I’ve taken the time to read the entire load of by the way…)
  • This movie is uplifting, emotional, and powerful.
  • If someone says words don’t matter, they’re wrong. Show them this movie and show them the themes that this script has in it.
  • Silver Linings Playbook is a beautiful movie because of two simple words: it’s timeless.
  • This is a human story about being down on yourself when you shouldn’t be.
  • Sports movies are great if the team wins at the end (and this movie does have some cool sports elements to it), but Silver Linings Playbook keeps this story human and it makes the story accessible to everyone.
  • You see Pat struggling to get through his everyday life, and you think about the struggles that you have.
  • But you also see the people around him and, despite how out-of-their-minds everyone in the story is, there’s always good at the end of tunnel.
  • This may be a small spoiler alert, but there’s that quote from this movie, “when I think of everything everyone did for me… I consider myself a very lucky guy.”
  • You realize that maybe everyone just has a little crazy in them.
  • And that’s great, because we’re all just crazy people together and if we recognize that, then we can be happy crazy people together.
  • This movie takes you on that road trip of emotion and, like I said, it hits you like a shot in the heart with the emotion, and it makes you feel GREAT walking out of it.
  • When I can walk out of a movie and just feel better about myself and the human race, and just be smiling for the rest of my day, then that isn’t a movie. That’s an experience.

Direction

  • And David O. Russell made that experience.
  • I couldn’t just praise the actors, script, or themes without saying that the direction is spot-on.
  • Russell did his job and perfected each of those aspects, but he kept everything simple.
  • This was a simple story, and because Russell doesn’t have any over-done style to his direction, the movie has this classic (and like I said, timeless) feel to it that I love.
  • He maintains everything and keeps it all grounded.
  • Russell knows when to use what shots though, he knows when to pan wide and when to stay up close and how to pace everything.
  • Because that’s another thing this movie does right: it’s the perfect length.
  • There are points in movies when you’re about 2/3 of the way into the movie and they’re starting to set up the final conflict and you’re like, “okay, it’s starting to feel too long…”
  • Not in this movie. It all just flows and it keeps you entertained the whole way through.
  • The climax to the movie is such a small thing, but Russell makes it feel so grandiose which is perfect for such a hugely subtle (and subtly huge) movie.

In Conclusion

  • In Conclusion guys, Silver Linings Playbook is… A 5/5.
  • It’s a perfect movie that hits every beat exactly the way it needed to.
  • This movie is endlessly rewatchable, it has heart, it has laughs, it has great performances.
  • This is a movie that I will NEVER forget watching for the first time, and it’s one of the films that launched my love for cinema. I still watch it at least two or three times a year. And I smile for the rest of my day after I finish it each time.

***

So guys, there are my praises of Silver Linings Playbook! It’s my all-time favorite movie, and if you guys check it out based on my recommendation (it’s on Netflix), then please let me know what you think of it! And as always, thanks for reading guys.

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