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Rated 3.1 stars
by 230 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Smart & Funny
by Diana Saenger

“One incident can change a lifetime,” Pat Solitano’s doctor told him. After spending eight months in a mental institution, Pat, played by Bradley Cooper, has good reason to listen to his physician. But as the plot of Silver Linings Playbook unfolds, the question arises -- did that one incident for Pat occur when he found his wife in the shower with her colleague, or was it his wacked-out reaction to the confrontation?

After being released from the hospital, Pat thinks little about anything logical at first. He’s back where he never wanted to be -- living with his parents (Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver). Mom is too coddling. Dad, an obsessed football nut, thinks Pat must sit by his side watching every move of a Philadelphia football game or they will lose.

Those early days are most difficult for Pat. He refuses to take his medicine, and his bi-polar illness causes him to send a book out through the attic window because of its unhappy ending and to scrape dishes off a table to the floor at a diner. That’s where Pat has invited Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) to dinner.

Tiffany met Pat at a family dinner and began stalking him on his run every morning. Over several days Pat discovers Tiffany is as mixed up as he is. She’s also trying to forget and compensate for a past history.

Once they actually become civil to each other, Pat realizes Tiffany may be the one to slip a note to his ex-wife Nikki (Brea Bee), who has a restraining order against Pat and does not want to see him. Tiffany agrees but only if Pat will be her partner in a dance competition.

Pat decides he must learn to look for the “Silver Linings” in his life if he wants to stay out of incarceration. How he determines what a “Silver Lining” is -- as well as what could cause more trauma in his life -- turns out to be more complicated than he ever imagined.

Lawrence (Winter’s Bone, The Hunger Games) has quickly jumped ahead of many of her peers in making every one of her characters come fully alive on screen. She does this magnificently in Silver Linings Playbook by depicting Tiffany as tireless in trying to break the chains of regret from around her heart in order to find life worth living once again. It’s a superb performance. 

Cooper (The Words, The Hangover) has wowed female fans with his good looks and charm, plus male fans enjoy his acting abilities and macho I’ll-do-anything-for-a-laugh character portrayals. But lately he’s taken on more serious roles, and his take on Pat might just pay off big time.

Lawrence and Cooper generate great chemistry together as two characters who are destined to be together or to further destroy each other. Director David O. Russell (The Fighter) knows how to build perceptible drama and to create a film well worth the ticket price. Silver Linings Playbook is smart, funny and will appeal to a mature audience.

(Released by The Weinstein Company and rated “R” for language and some sexual content/nudity.)

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