SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

One reviewer (I think it was Alonso Duralde) called this a screwball comedy with actual screwballs! I can’t do any better than that. David O. Russell’s follow up to THE FIGHTER is a feel bad/feel good movie. Bradley Cooper is Pat, a former substitute teacher who walked in on his wife while she was showering with another man. He snaps and beats the guy senseless. The audience is plopped into this story as Pat is being released from a mental hospital. He’s not 100%, but he’s apparently well enough to be released into the custody of his parents (Jacki Weaver and Robert DeNiro). Pat is undiagnosed bi-polar. And if you want to know where his psychosis comes from, just look to his father. DeNiro is an obsessive Philadelphia Eagles fan. He’s banned from their stadium because of fighting. He has to have the remotes in the right place and rub his lucky hankie to make sure the mojo is right for an Eagles victory. He’s also making book on the Eagles. Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) at a friends house. She’s a widow, a former nymphomaniac and the scene where she an Pat bond while reciting a list of psychiatric drugs is hilarious. Pat wants to get back with his wife, but a restraining order makes that nearly impossible. So Tiffany offers to help get her a letter if Pat enters a ballroom dance competition with her. Ok, at this point you’re thinking, “what the heck?!?. How is this mess of a story ever going to work”. The answer is brilliantly. All the pieces fit together thanks to Russell’s talent and his wonderful screenplay. It’s funny, touching and romantic. The acting is absolutely great. Cooper shows that he can more than just a good-looking punchline-thrower. Lawrence never makes a bad choice and again proves that she is possibly the best 20-something actress in the world. And DeNiro reminds us why he is the best living actor. The Silver Lining here is that this is one of the best movies of the year. — Alan Yudman

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