Calling David O. Russell’s The Silver Linings Playbook the best romantic comedy of the year would be an understatement. I don’t remember the last time I wholly enjoyed watching a generic romance as much as I did here. Mark my words: when the Academy Awards announce their nominations next week, The Silver Linings Playbook will make a very strong appearance in most major categories.
If this film isn’t nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay, I’ll lose my faith in the Oscars. I refuse to call it a chick flick because it’s meant to be enjoyed by both genders. If there’s one film you will see this week, make it this heartwarming tale of love, joy and forgiveness.
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence command the screen with natural chemistry that will leave you wanting more. Time flies when you’re having fun, and this is a solid exemplar of this saying. Clocking at over two hours, The Silver Linings Playbook feels more like thirty minutes. I simply did not want to take my eyes off the characters I so warmly embraced and grew to love. You’ll walk out the theatre in an upbeat mood with a wide grin carving your face for the remainder of your day.
Pat (Bradley Cooper) plays a young man fresh out of a mental institution. During his stint in the hospital, he lost everything, including his wife, job and house. As depressing as this may seem, Pat refuses to give in to depression, for he believes that by staying positive, everything will work out in the end. In comes, Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), the girl next door who, like him, isn’t 100% stable either. They come to an agreement to help each other get what they want. In his case, it’s his wife back. As for her, she only needs a partner to enter a dance competition.
There’s a humanity in this film that seems scarce nowadays. The dialogue in this film is phenomenal. It’ll have you laughing out loud one second, and silently wiping tears from your eyes the next. Perfectly timed spurts of dialogue sound genuinely witty, because they seem to come out of character rather than a screenwriter’s sense of humor. Chris Tucker makes a welcome return to the screen as a mental institution escapee who always comes out of nowhere, adding a sense of unpredictability to the movie.
But if there’s one performance that deserves most of the praise, it’s the bittersweet performance of the legendary Robert De Niro. He plays an Eagles fanatic desperately trying to reconnect with his son, Pat. De Niro is, in my opinion, the most talented actor to ever grace this planet. He has acted in more classics than anyone out there and here Bobby D proves his versatility has no boundaries. While his choices of films have been somewhat disappointing as of late, De Niro reminds us that he’s still the master of his domain.
The Silver Linings Playbook follows the same formula of every other romantic comedy out there, but it follows it so well, you’ll understand why it became a formula in the first place. The dialogue is fast, unexpected and honest; the performances are marvelous, and the pace is outstanding. The Silver Linings Playbook is a slapstick comedy that ranks up there with the best of Hollywood’s long-forgotten classics. David O. Russell managed to create one of the best feel-good treasures in a long time.