CGB Review of Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

This movie is like being a frog in a boiling pot; you’re burning alive and it feels so good.

This is my review of Silver Linings Playbook!

BRADLEY COOPER stars in SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

So this is the first movie I watched on Netflix (I finally got a Netflix account! Hooray!)  Right off the bat, I have nothing but good things to say about this movie. Honest to God, I cannot find a single thing that I didn’t like.  So here is everything right with Silver Linings Playbook!

The chaotic chemistry between Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence is the vehicle that this film drives all the way to the finish line.  Bradley Cooper plays the volatile optimist Pat Solatano, who is hellbent on winning back his estranged wife and getting his life in order after being released from a mental institution.  Just like in American Sniper, Cooper completely disappears into the role of Pat.  His optimism is grounded by his determination to keep his head above water.  Did I mention this movie understands how to write the No-Filter Character arch correctly?  Yeah, well, it does just that.  It’s made clear that Pat is socially-stunted, so what he says to offend other characters never offends the audience.  You believe that he’s not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings, but has no concept of how his words could be received by others.

Jennifer Lawrence plays Pat’s equally dysfunctional match, Tiffany Maxwell.  Am I the only one who thinks that JLaw should stay brunette?  She looks fantastic with dark hair!  In her first couple scenes, I was getting worried that she was just playing a female version of Pat.  Then came the diner scene.  Tiffany goes off on Pat after figuring out that he thinks she’s crazier than him.  I’m just going to quote her verbatim: “Because I am so much crazier than you.  I’m the crazy slut with a dead husband–hahahahaha!” She curses him out as she shoves all of the plates and cups off of the table.  If you want to experience it, go on YouTube and type in “Silver Linings Playbook diner scene” or just watch the movie.  🙂  Anywho, her rage in that moment sums up her character: Explosive, isolated, and can be only be understood by someone of equal temperment.  Pat is the heavy gust of wind while Tiffany is the rain and thunder.

This movie is so emotional, but not in a forced way.  Why did I compare this movie to being a frog in boiling water?  Because the characters are so well-realized, I actually got distressed during the scene where Pat is tearing up the attic in search of his wedding video, or when he almost gets arrested after Tiffany shouts “he’s harrasing me!”  The two scenes I mentioned are among the tough scenes in this movie.  Because I was so invested in these people, I felt for them, so the bad things that happen to them were difficult to watch at times.  That, my friends, is the mark of a good movie.

Top-notch writing, great chemistry between Cooper and Lawrence, and a humanistic portrayal of people who struggle with mental illness make Silver Linings Playbook a home run from start to finish.

Saint Dymphna, pray for us.

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