Every once in a while a movie comes out that blows you away. Silver Linings Playbook is one of those movies.
Life doesn’t always go according to plan. After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) moves back in with his parents as he attempts to re-build his life after a mental breakdown.
Pat has lost everything – his house, his job, and his wife. All he wants to do is to reconcile with his ex-wife Nikki. He is obsessed with the thought of winning her back. But she has a restraining order against him.
Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a mysterious girl with problems of her own. The duo have their own history of mental instability. But it seems as if fate has bought them together when Pat discovers that she knows Nikki.
So they hatch a beneficial plan, Tiffany will pass a try a love letter on to Nikki in exchange for Pat’s help with an upcoming dance competition.
Despite the dark territory the film is refreshingly optimistic. Their neuroses are on display to comic effect at the beginning of the film, with Pat struggling to keep his temper and nervous energy at bay and Tiffany displaying an unknowing disregard for social niceties. Their conditions improve as they bond together, over the dance competition.
Regardless of his past misdeeds Pat will capture your sympathy immediately, thanks in large part to the excitable charm and sincere sweetness Bradley Cooper plays him with, whilst Jennifer Lawrence is equally impressive in eliciting a passionless, frank exterior that hides a deeper softer side.
Silver Linings Playbook is about the desperation of love. There’s a Carpe Diem theme too. At first it seems that this is just yet another edgy movie, but that isn’t even scratching the surface. It’s a heartbreakingly frank recollection of of mental illness, loss and ultimately, serendipity.
By Ruth Walker