Top 100 Films Of The 2010’s – #70 – Silver Linings Playbook (2012)


RELEASED: 21st November 2012

DIRECTOR: David O. Russell

CAST: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Tucker, Jacki Weaver, Robert de Niro, Anupam Kher, John Ortiz, Julia Stiles, Paul Herman, Shea Whigham, Brea Bee, Cheryl Williams, Patrick McDade, Dash Mihok, Matthew Russell, Paul Herman, Patsy Meck and Phillip Chorba

BUDGET: $21m

BOX OFFICE WORLDWIDE: $236.4m

AWARDS: 1 Academy Award (Best Actress), 1 Golden Globe (Best Actress) and 1 BAFTA (Best Adapated Screenplay)

After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.

 

Silver Linings Playbook focuses on Pat Solitano, a former teacher who is adjusting to life after spending eight months in a mental institution. Pat hopes to rebuild his life after losing his home, his job and his wife, by staying at his parents house and remaining positive and do what he can to get better in order to be reunited with his wife, even though the circumstances of that happening are more difficult than it seems. Things get even more complicated for Pat however when he meets Tiffany Maxwell, a woman whose recently become a widow and has problems of her own to deal with. One day Tiffany offers to help Pat reconnect with his wife, but only if he’ll do something important for her in return…be her partner for an upcoming dance competition.

 

Based on Matthew Quick’s novel of the same name, considering the subject matter is focusing on an individual suffering from bipolar disorder and another is suffering the loss of her husband, Silver Linings Playbook turned out to be a more charming and upbeat than I anticipated and I find the film to be constantly engaging on repeated viewings, due to the chemistry between the co-leads. While we learn the reason for Pat being put in a mental institute, your initial reaction is to sympathise with him of course…until you learn of what else he done before that event. Meanwhile Tiffany is earning a ‘reputation’ amongst the community for offering casual sex to men due to her clinical depression and once we learn of how her husband passed away, we sympathise with her. The characters are layered and intertwined into this will they, won’t they dance (literally) as Pat’s disorder and mantra of ‘Excelsior’ has him focused on winning Nikki back, while Tiffany is locked-on winning Pat’s affection. What makes the film also work is while in their own way they eclipse the outside world from deeming them as ‘crazy’ by calling out others, such as Pat making his father aware of his obsessive-compulsive disorder, especially when it comes to certain superstitions that he maintains in order for the Philadelphia Eagles to win their games and bet his money on it, and then there’s Pat’s friend Ronnie who seems to be content with married life, until he opens up more to Pat as the film progresses of his unhappiness. The film is very well directed by David O. Russell (could be argued as his best film to date), with great performances from Bradley Cooper as Pat Jr., Jennifer Lawrence as Tiffany Maxwell (my favourite performance from her) and Robert De Niro as Pat Sr., arguably his best role this decade until The Irishman came along.

 

FAVOURITE SCENE: While Pat Sr. is furious that Pat Jr. messed up the Eagles ‘Ju ju’ as they lost after Pat, his brother and his therapist got caught in an altercation outside the stadium, Tiffany arrives furious with Pat Jr. not showing up for practice. As Pat Sr. believes Tiffany is at fault for messing up the ‘Ju ju’ she counter argues with some facts of her own…after all, she’s done the research.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: “Let me tell you, I know you don’t want to listen to your father, I didn’t listen to mine, and I am telling you you gotta pay attention this time. When life reaches out at a moment like this it’s a sin if you don’t reach back, I’m telling you its a sin if you don’t reach back! It’ll haunt you the rest of your days like a curse. You’re facing a big challenge in your life right now at this very moment, right here. That girl loves you she really really loves you. I don’t know if Nikki ever did, but she sure as shit doesn’t right now. So don’t fuck this up.” – Patrizio ‘Pat’ Solitano Sr.

DID YOU KNOW: David O. Russell has said in interviews that one of the main reasons why he cast Bradley Cooper was that, seeing his work, he noticed that sometimes Cooper looked really angry and tried to suppress it, something he needed for the character of Pat.

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