Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Silver Linings Playbook

A bipolar ex-high school teacher (Bradley Cooper), still in the heightened stages of mania, is released to his parent's custody (Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver) from a state mental hospital, where he determines to win back his estranged wife, whose marital infidelity was the stimulus for his latest psychotic episode. While his parents encourage him to get on his feet and partake in the Philadelphia Eagles games they so avidly enjoy, a young and likewise damage widow (Jennifer Lawrence) enters into his orbit and fosters his mental rehabilitation. From the novel written by Matthew Quick, David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook" is a delightful and offbeat romantic comedy that elevates itself above the usual dreck and finds truth through humor in the familial elements of its story. One of the refreshing joys of the movie is witnessing a superb performance from an actor I haven't really admired, and Bradley Cooper asserts himself admirably here. Another is seeing an icon of the screen in De Niro, lately lost in a sea of unworthy movies, resurface in what will be seen as one of the finest turns of his career. I also appreciated the work of Weaver, Shea Whigham as Cooper's older brother, and Chris Tucker who pops up from time to time as an escaped patient from the mental ward. It's only in Jennifer Lawrence, who is too young for the role and seems to be trying way too hard, that the film falters.