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March 18, 2013 | by  | in Arts Film | [ssba]

Silver Linings Playbook

 

Is anyone else surprised by how successful this film has become? True, it features two very bankable stars in Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, but faux-indie films about mental illness with names as clunky and unmarketable as Silver Linings Playbook are rarely predicted to become blockbuster hits.

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised, though. Silver Linings Playbook is really very good. Bradley Cooper is brilliant as recently-released mental patient Pat Solitano (aside: who knew this guy could act?!), and so is Jennifer Lawrence as his love interest.

You probably have at least a vague idea of what the film is about from all the hype it has received in the wake of Lawrence’s Oscar win. Pat is released from a mental institution and sets about trying to rebuild his life, and in the process meets Tiffany (Lawrence) who is on much the same mission.

Positives? The humour is quirky and almost always hits the mark, the performances are excellent, and the film is refreshingly devoid of the self-help-book feel of other, similar films à la Alexander Payne (the characters aren’t actually all that empathetic–we enjoy them voyeuristically, not vicariously).

Negatives? Very few of note, though the plot does veer towards the predictable and the main source of conflict—a dance competition—feels like it has been inserted arbitrarily, with no connection to any of the other events or characters in the film. The ending is also a little bit mushy in a happily-ever-after kind of way, which seems out of keeping with the adventurous, risky feel of the rest of the picture.

This is nitpicking, though. Silver Linings Playbook is clever, funny and well put together, and the acting alone makes it worth a watch.

Verdict: 4/5

[ssba]

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