Movie Review : Silver Linings Playbook [M] #SilverLiningsPlaybook

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Movie Title: Silver Linings Playbook [M]

Director : David O. Russell

Starring : Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jackie Weaver, Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher

Running Time : 122 minutes

Release Date :   In Cinemas Now

When I started writing this review, I found myself becoming distracted by listing the awards this movie and it’s actors have garnered. So, to make things easier not only on myself and you, my adored readers, but to highlight just how well received and lauded this movie is, I am simply going to list the major awards now. And this is by no means the entire list …. (any inaccuracies are purely unintentional)

Best Picture – Won – AFI (Australian Film Institute) International, Independemt Spirit Awards. Nominated – Academy Awards, BAFTA, Golden Globes

David O Russell – Director/Writer – Nominated and/or Won – Academy Award, AFI (Australian Film Institute) International, Golden Globes, BAFTA, Independemt Spirit Awards

Bradley Cooper – Best Actor  – Nominated – Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globes, AFI (Australian Film Institute) International, Independent Spirit Awards

Jennifer Lawrence – Best Actress – Won – Academy Award, Golden Globes, AFI (Australian Film Institute) International, Independent Spirit Awards. Nominated – BAFTA

Jackie Weaver – Best Supporting Actress – Nominated – Academy Award. Won – AFI (Australian Film Institute) International

Robert De Niro – Best Supporting Actor – Nominated – Academy Award. Won – AFI (Australian Film Institute) International

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Pat Solatano ( Bradley Cooper) is serving a mandatory eight month sentence in a mental institution. He feels he is now ready to leave and reclaim all that he has lost….his wife, his career, his home, his life. His mother Dolores (Australia’s Jackie Weaver) has agreed to bring him home and as part of his release, he must live with his parents. His father Pat Sr (De Niro) is unaware of this agreement. It doesn’t take long before we realise this is a family fractured by their son’s mental illness. It is not an angry, bitter fracture but more a silent resignation of how things are.

Pat Sr is recently unemployed and is attempting to make enough money to start a new business via bookmaking. He bets mostly on the Philadelphia Eagles football team. The entire family are unswervingly loyal Eagles supporters and the rituals and superstitions that go hand in hand with this obsession…. well let’s just say that it is easy to see where Pat Jr may have inherited some of his ummm quirks.

Pat does not want to take his medication for bipolar disorder because he doesn’t like the way it makes him feel. This causes some interesting moments, some amusing, some rather serious and as anyone who has lived with family or friends who are ‘off their meds’ can attest, it can go either way at any moment.  One of his biggest goals is weight loss. It is never addressed exactly how much weight he has lost during his stint at the institution but as most people comment on how well he looks, one can assume it is rather significant. To this end, Pat runs every day wearing a full tracksuit and a black plastic garbage bag…..the garbage makes him sweat thus hastening the weight loss.

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It is during his daily runs that he is consistently ‘ambushed’  by Tiffany (Lawrence), a young woman he was introduced to by a friend at a recent dinner party. Their initial interactions are awkward and mildly hostile. Tiffany has issues of her own and she seems to instinctively know how to push Pat’s buttons. The two form an almost unbearably uncomfortable relationship with the most basic of social interactions difficult for them. Yet it’s good for both of them, this much is obvious and thus gives the fledgling relationship momentum.

Tiffany agrees to help Pat win back his wife and he in turn agrees to enter a local dance competition with her. The relationship changes and flourishes as the pair prepare for the competition.

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This movie is touted as a dramatic comedy and there are some laughs but it is heavier on the drama. And this is a very good thing. The developing relationship between this emotionally damaged pair is lovely to watch. It did take me a little while to warm to this movie but in hindsight, this was possibly because it was very real.

The reality is that most of us are damaged in some way and just because you are not diagnosed or on medication is irrelevant. Too often in movies the dialogue between couples is fluid and clever and witty. This rarely happens in real life, despite what those dating website advertisements want us to believe. There are awkward pauses and confronting comments. The wrong things is said and reacted too. You try to be on your best behaviour but why should you have to be? Why should someone not accept you for who you are?

And that is the secret to this movie.

It is about relationships that are not perfect between people who are not perfect. And that is okay. We learn to adjust and live with and love these non perfect people and if we are very lucky, they will love us right back. We can try and fix ourselves and try and fix those we love but when all the superficial stuff is gone, love is just love. Sometimes the one we love is not the one for us and we have to deal with that before we can see clearly. Most of us have been in this situation and can relate to the frustrations and pain that it causes. To lose the one you love, no matter how it happens, is painful. It’s what you do next that is important.

Try and see this movie because it does live up to the hype and all the awards are richly deserved….

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