Silver Linings Playbook

“Silver Linings Playbook” has it all: love, laughter, tears, mental illness, football, dancing and gambling. It more than lives up to its advance buzz. The story, the characters and the telling of the story are all compelling. Go see this movie!

Bradley Cooper plays Patrick, a man who’s just spent several months in a mental health treatment center after severely injuring his wife’s lover. For now, he’s staying with his folks. He still loves his wife but can’t see her, due to a restraining order. A friend invites him over for dinner where he meets a young widow, Tiffany, played by Jennifer Lawrence.

Tiffany also has mental health issues. Following her husband’s death, she received therapy and medications. She and Patrick become friends and she asks him to be her partner in a dance competition.

Meanwhile, Patrick’s dad, played by Robert DeNiro, is revealed to have anger issues of his own—he’s been permanently banned from Philadelphia Eagles home games for fighting in the stands. Dad is a guy who’s lost his job and has turned to bookmaking to get by.

The interaction between these characters and others in the film will break your heart one minute and make you laugh out loud the next. David O. Russell wrote the script and directed the movie. He directed 2010’s wonderful “The Fighter,” which was notable for similar family dynamics. (“SLP” is set in suburban Philly, while “The Fighter” was set in Lowell, Massachusetts.)

The resolution of “Silver Linings Playbook” is satisfying for many reasons, which I dare not reveal here. Just go see this movie!

Sadly, a TV spot for the movie reveals one of the film’s key turning points. I hate when that happens. I encourage you to avoid any TV ads or online trailers before you see “SLP.”

“Silver Linings Playbook” is among this year’s best. Expect award nominations for Cooper and Lawrence and maybe DeNiro. Russell should get a nom for best adapted script and, possibly, best director. Best picture? It should make that list, too.

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