I saw this movie with hundreds of others, packed into the Winter Garden Theatre during TIFF. When the film’s director David O. Russell (The Fighter) came to the podium, he delivered what was probably the shortest intro I’ve heard at TIFF:
“I’d rather not set expectations or talk too much about the film. Just watch it and see what you think.”
Then all went dark and we all spent most of the two hours laughing and loving this movie. And we were not alone, because yesterday, TIFF announced that Silver Linings Playbook won The BlackBerry People’s Choice Award, beating out Ben Affleck’s Argo. You know what that means, right? A pretty good shot at an Oscar nod for Best Picture. Recent examples of TIFF People’s Choice Award winners who went on to win Best Picture include Slumdog Millionaire and The King’s Speech.
The film is at times intense, dramatic and though-provoking. It’s also emotional and very very funny. Boiled down to its basics, it’s a family story and a love story all in one. Bradley Cooper – his trademark hair buzzed off – stars as Pat Solatano. His marriage has fallen apart and he returns to his family home after having just spent eight months in a mental institution. Pat spends his days jogging in ratty grey sweats and a black garbage bag, while plotting ways to get his wife back as he battles the demons of mental illness.
His father (Robert DeNiro) is a bookie who is trying to close to his son, but his attention is constantly drawn to his bookmaking business, dreams of opening a restaurant and watching his favourite football team – the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed DeNiro in any film and he’s truly entertaining here. Cooper’s mother (played adoringly by Jacki Weaver) and his psychiatrist Dr. Patel (Anumpam Kher) try to help Pat heal as best they can. And his in-and-out-of-rehab friend Danny (Chris Tucker) provides even more comic relief and Tucker steals just about every scene he’s in.
Pat’s life takes a turn when he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence). With a promiscuous reputation, Tiffany’s got her own set of problems as she tries to find her way after the death of her husband. As the two try to rebuild their lives, Tiffany offers to help Pat but wants something from him in return, something that is very important to her. As he tries to pay her back, the two try to find the silver linings in their troubled lives.
While the movie does veer to the predictable in the end, the chemistry between Cooper and Lawrence is fantastic. It’s great to see them both play characters with good range and in types of roles you’ve not seen them in before. The direction is tight, the scenes are snappy and the two hours fly by. This is a very enjoyable movie.
This is the first non-Rush Hour movie that Chris Tucker has been in
“That’s good juju”
Who to see it with
Great date movie. Also great to see with friends. Especially girlfriends. After all, Bradley Cooper is in it.
Silver Linings Playbook opens November 21, 2012.