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Thursday, January 31, 2013
Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell, 2012)
Silver Linings Playbook, the latest film from writer/director David O. Russell (Three Kings, The Fighter), is a unique and extraordinary cinematic gift. Whether you are positive and optimistic about life’s challenges and the possibility of second chances, or cynical and contrary, this film tells a relatable and endearing human story. While some there are some heartbreaking dramatic developments, this remains a genuinely funny crowd-pleaser that is not only brilliantly crafted but challenges the conventions of the genre it adopts and respects its audience. Actively shot, reminiscent of the central protagonist’s erratic mental state, Silver Linings Playbook remains realistic and optimistic while unashamedly embracing the flaws (the ‘crazy’) present in each of us.
The gifted director, who has recently received his second straight Academy Award nomination, has created one of the densest, most intelligently conceived family dramas in recent years. It is a charming tale about a broken soul clinging to the hope of rekindling a past life. But to find the silver lining he is searching for, he has to let go and believe that his life still has some surprises in store. Along comes a romantic distraction that could not be more intriguing. Silver Linings Playbook has also received nominations for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay (from Matthew Quick’s novel of the same name), and for the first time since Reds (1981), nominations in each of the four acting categories. Bradley Cooper (astoundingly immersed), Jennifer Lawrence (limitlessly talented), Robert De Niro (rarely better) and Jackie Weaver (suitably motherly) range from very good to phenomenal – and succeed in bringing the most out of this unforgettable character study that tackles issues dealing with mental illness, the value of family and reluctant new relationships in a celebratory and emotionally involving package.