Silver Linings Playbook
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro, Jacki Weaverm Chris Tucker, Julia Stiles
To some extent a director is responsible for an actors good or bad performance, two years ago when both Christian Bale and Meslissa Leo won Oscars under David O. Russell’s direction for The Fighter it elevated him even further as an actor’s director. Disregarding Russell’s own craziness off camera, he has become a director, through eclectic films like Three Kings and I Heart Huckabee’s that looks for a challenge. Some will say that Russell’s choice to do this film is based out of his own exploration of his touch of bi-polar disorder. Either way once again he has delivered a film with heart and some unforgettable performances. However I can’t help but think that Russell enjoyed the insanity of The Fighter family so much that he sought out another family to unwind on screen.
The Solitano family are going through some changes, Pat Sr. (DeNiro) lost his job and is forever banned from The Eagles stadium for beating up on some people. His son Pat Jr. (Cooper) was ordered into a mental facility after he lost his mind after discovering his wife in the shower with an older man. Dolores (Weaver) has come to take her son back home and try to get the family back together with “home-mades” and some football. Obsessed with trying to patch up his marriage Pat begins down the same uncontrollable path throwing books out the window at 3am in the morning, refusing to take his medicine, he can’t let go of his rage that mostly occurs when a certain song is played. He however meets widow Tiffany (Lawrence) who is mental in her own way but has a power over him he doesn’t understand; she blackmails him into training for a dance competition but when he is with her he is more calm and focused.
This is the type of female performance we have been waiting for all year and Lawrence ascends right to the very top of the best actress race.
If you loved The Fighter as much as I did you will instantly see the parallel between Pat Jr. and Dickey, the running, the vocal diarrhea, and while Pat doesn’t abuse drugs (it’s actually the opposite he won’t take them when prescribed) he still suffers from uncontrollable urges that provide lots of laughter. What’s different here is that Lawrence’s character is equally as intense, together mixed with the father’s madness there are many scenes filled with screaming, fighting, and all out chaos that Russell orchestrates beautifully. The first time Lawrence steps on camera the audience as well we Pat is drawn to her. This is the type of female performance we have been waiting for all year and Lawrence ascends right to the very top of the best actress race, I will be surprised if anyone can take the Oscar away from her.
Yes this is a comedy, but then so was The Fighter even though it was entered as a drama. I spoke with Julia Stiles to classified this as a romantic comedy, but I disagree with that. There are hundreds of little moments that make this film so terrific, one being when Pat spits on the ground, Tiffany takes that as an aggressive gesture and spits right back at him. You can see previous Russell character’s inside each of these new ones. DeNiro along with the screenplay will all likely receive Oscar nominations. It’s Cooper I am not so sure about, while not a fan, I will admit this is the most challenging performance of his career and this could be a huge turning point for his career. This is a crowd pleasing film aimed at the 30 under crowd, but it’s very well done and the acting in this is something to see.
If you blend Little Miss Sunshine and The Fighter together you have an idea at how terrific this film is.