With mental health being something of a hot button issue these days, it’s nice to see it tackled in a light-hearted, but competent, manner.
After violently attacking his wife’s lover, Pat (Bradley Cooper) ends up in a mental institution. Upon release, he moves back home with his family, where his Philadelphia Eagle-loving father (Robert DeNiro) has become a small-time bookie. He meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), whose husband has recently died, and the two begin to work on their personal issues.
“Silver Linings Playbook” is at no loss for interesting characters. The protagonist obsesses with working out, reading and finding new ways to impress his wife, who currently has a restraining order against him. Tiffany’s problems are just as saddening as she tries to recover from the loss of her husband (and her actions shortly thereafter). It’s a film of flawed characters, but they are both strongly-written and well-acted.
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence give award-worthy performances (as evidenced by their nominations at this year’s Golden Globes), but I was also happy to see Chris Tucker acting again after 5 years off the grid. Bonus points for not being anywhere near his level of annoyance in 2007’s “Rush Hour 3.” Although Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver are also solid, they get much less of the spotlight and therefore aren’t as memorable.
Director David O. Russell also wrote the screenplay, for which he has been nominated at the Golden Globes. The story is close to home for the filmmaker, as his son suffers from mental health issues.
While the storyline isn’t too complex or groundbreaking, the awkward humor and Philly sports fanaticism infused with the script make it exceptionally fun to watch. A great screenplay combined with a great cast make this one of the year’s best.