Silver Linings Playbook 2 hours – Director: David O. Russell
A troubling story of a young man, Pat Solatano ( played by Bradley Cooper), Tiffany, (Played by Jennifer Lawrence) and Pat’s parents, (played by Jacki Weaver and Robert DeNiro). When Pat is released from a mental hospital he returns home to his parents. He has lost everything: his job, his home and his unfaithful wife. He appears determined to do everything he can to win her back and begin his life anew, but he is a fish going upstream. Tiffany comes with her own baggage: A depressed, young, bitter police widow. The two collide with resentments boiling over. Because she lures Pat into helping her with a dance competition in exchange for contacting his ex-wife for him, a fragile relationship forms.
When I saw the previews I thought this would be just another light Hollywood film. Boy, was I wrong. There is nothing “light” about this film. It is often times difficult to sit through. It will remind you of your own dysfunctional family. DeNiro plays an obsessive/compulsive, gambling father who lives in the bubble of Philadelphia sports and relates only to those who co-habit in that same bubble. Jacki Weaver does a wonderful job of balancing the family emotions, endearing herself to us as “mom” in a sort of Archie Bunker marriage.
This is a complicated story about dysfunctional families, but this one is way up there on the rector scale of dysfunctionality. There was a cathartic moment for me. I remember well my living in Philadelphia and the endless sports games my in-laws watched (or endured). The men drank too much and God forbid you should cross them if their team lost. It wasn’t a pretty scenario. In the middle of the film there is an episode where all these dysfunctional men, rowdy and obnoxious, get together at a football game.(They aren’t called The Broad Street Bullies and Philly Phanatics for nothing.) For me, what I saw were men whose lives were unraveling and football was their saving grace. That was where they let it all hang out. Football saved these men and helped them cope with the sad and disappointing realities of life. Truly, it is an unsettling film to sit through.
Still the acting is superb and the Casting Director would win an Award if the Academy gave Oscars to Casting Directors. Each actor is perfectly cast doing fabulous each with their respective roles. With eight academy nominations, it is sure to be a strong Contender on Academy Awards Night in Hollywood. ★★★★