AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL 2012
By Dirk Sonniksen | October 27, 2012
Director: David O. Russell
Writer(s): David O. Russell (screenplay), Matthew Quick (novel)
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Julia Stiles, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher
There are those rare moments when mental illness comes in handy, and for Pat (Bradley Cooper), meeting Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) is one of those moments. Pat’s screwed up, as is Tiffany, and although Tiffany wants Pat bad, Pat is pining for his wife, Nikki (Brea Bee), who is directly responsible for Pat’s breakdown. Pat’s just done a stint in the looney bin, and is living with his parents, Delores (Jacki Weaver), and Pat, Sr. (Robert De Niro). He is looking for those “silver linings” and anything that will reunite him with his wife. Tiffany plays along, but has other plans, and with some intriguing drama and much hilarity, she “might” find her bipolar soul mate.
I nearly passed on Silver Linings Playbook at the Austin Film Festival, but when I learned that David O. Russell was sitting in the director’s chair, I took a chance. Russell hasn’t made many films in his career, but he is one of the few directors that takes subject matter that doesn’t interest me, and turns it on its head. Case in point: Three Kings, a story that centers on the Iraq war (the first one), but morphs into a hilarious comedy. With Silver Linings Playbook, Russell tackles a love story, and directs a fantastic film without the cliché nonsense that makes so many love stories forgettable.
It’s no secret (at least to my friends) that I am a fan of Jennifer Lawrence, but it’s not what you think (really). Lawrence proves once again that she is quite an actress, and it’s refreshing to see her continue to choose great scripts. I was formally introduced to Bradley Cooper in Limitless, and after watching his performance in Silver Linings Playbook, he is one of my new favorites. Cooper and Lawrence have that rare chemistry and it does a lot to carry the film. Robert De Niro does stellar work as well, and his quirky wife/sidekick played by Jacki Weaver is one of the best performances of this film. Oh, Chris Tucker is back, and he’s fantastic.
Silver Linings Playbook is a great film, combining all the elements that make a stickler like myself smile. It’s a love story that doesn’t play like a love story, and instead of relying on mushy moments that make guys like me gag, Silver Linings Playbook pushes forward with a strong script, exceptional characters/cast, and superb directing. It’s a film that gave me a much needed Jennifer Lawrence fix, made me a fan of Bradley Cooper (and Jacki Weaver), and continued my belief that David O. Russell makes a damn fine movie. Now if he’d just make more.