Back when Silver Lining’s Playbook came out I did not get the chance to see it. At the time I was still loving me some Les Miserables and never got the chance to get to the theaters and watch it, much to my parents dismay who had called and told me MANY times, claiming it to be a fantastic movie with all kinds of characters that reminded them of our family. My dad even said he liked it and believe me if that man says he likes a movie THAT MEANS SOMETHING. But as much as I wanted to see it, the more it got put to the back of my mind until it was out of theaters and I was on the outside looking in.
After seeing the awards that it was nominated for and Jennifer Lawrence’s win in the Academy Awards I do have to admit that the whole time I was sitting in my chair thinking… “How good can it really be? It just looks like another dime a dozen romantic comedy.” So as the time passed I waited for the day to come around when it came out on DVD/Blu Ray release… And man was I DEAD wrong! This film is fantastic, wonderful, an instant classic, insert more adjectives here! This movie is really one of those things where they just get everything right and they get it right in a way that flows so well and so eloquent that it truly is a masterpiece that blends the realms of romance, comedy, and drama in a way that I have not seen before.
I could talk about this film all day… Which is exactly what I’m going to do. Let’s take a look at what makes Silver Lining’s Playbook such a great film.
Every Performance is Phenomenal
The acting is just… wonderful from EVERYONE in the cast. Every person pulled out the performance of their lives. It is easy to see why Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jacki Weaver were all nominated for Academy Awards. If it were in my power I would invent a new category for Best Performance in a Minor/Bit role just to give the credit to Chris Tucker and the other actors and actresses in this film.
These people put on all the stops for this film and with each character so intricate to the plot everyone needed to be on their game. Each actor plays their role to perfection and just add one piece to the vital machine that is this film.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Chris Tucker in this film who had disappeared off the face of the Earth after Rush Hour was finished and in this film showed me that the guy can actually act. I was not a big fan of his until this film but man did he win me over.
Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro are also fantastic and of course Jennifer Lawrence’s performance is the stuff of legend. I would say all four of them put on all-star roles it is just that Cooper, Weaver, and De Niro simply had the misfortune of competing against Daniel Day Lewis and Anne Hathaway (though I do say De Niro should have beat Christoph Waltz).
The Various Relationships are VERY Relatable
This more than any other film, I saw the most of myself, my family, my friends, and my future in it. Pat’s relationship with his father reminds me so much of my relationship with my father and in many ways Tiffany is the kind of woman I would hope for if I ever found myself in that scenario. The father’s die-hard support for the Philadelphia Eagles and belief in superstition reminds me so much of myself and my dad with the West Virginia Mountaineers. Even the really touching scene where Pat Sr admits that even though he says he is a good luck charm he really just wants to spend time with his son and considers it a bonding time. Man did that remind me of my Dad.
And I’m sure the relations are the same for many people who see themselves, their parents, their grandparents, friends, spouses, ex-spouses in this light. The film touches its viewers on a very personal level.
The Film is Easily the Best in David O’Russell’s Oeuvr
This one is not going to be very long but I do have to comment that David O’Russell did a fantastic job with this, the direction and cinematography is phenomenal and his direction for his actors was spot on. This film easily marks O’Russell’s best performance.
Characters Feel Like Real People and Not Just Actors
The title says it all. Every character even the bit parts feel like real people. They never once feel like people playing roles. They are real people with real problems. There is no people who are larger than life or only connect with a small group of people or feel like a person we are supposed to look up to or despise. They just feel normal. Normal people with normal 21st century problems.
Even characters like the police officer or Nikki’s sister Veronica who are not portrayed in a positive light are not necessarily antagonists. They have their own wants and desires in life and they simply clash with what the main character desires.
Every Scene is Essential
This is something that happens in VERY few movies and when it does happen it is the work of genius. Every single scene in this movie is essential! There is no padding, there is no superfluous scenes. Every scene, every line of dialogue, every movement is essential parts of the plot. To take away from just one aspect of this film makes the film suffer. To add would run the risk of adding unneeded padding.
This is the cinema version of pitching a perfect game. These films come along once in a while and we really need to acknowledge when it happens.
The Film Makes a Great Commentary About The Healing Process, the Use of Medication, and the Importance of the Relationships in our Lives
This is by far my favorite aspect of the film is the whole concept of the grieving process and what it means to heal. With two characters like Pat (Bradley Cooper) and Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), they each have gone through some terrible hardships with Tiffany’s husband passing away and Pat’s wife cheating on him causing him to have a mental break as well as bring his diagnosed Bi-Polar disorder out in the open.
The film does a phenomenal job detailing Pat and Tiffany’s road to recovery and how they deal with their grief. Pat vehemently denies the fact that his wife Nikki and his marriage has ended, constantly stating that he will get her back to the point of extreme obsession and restraining orders while Tiffany has turned to the comfort of others through various sexual experiences to help feel the void that her husband Tommy left in her.
There is a wonderful scene between Pat and Tiffany where they go through the various drugs that they have been diagnosed and the various negative effects they give them. While the movie goes on it is shown that Pat’s character does in fact start taking his medication which does help with his problems.
BUT the true healing process is the connection between these two and their relationship with each other and the relationship of their various family members (the latter being more for Pat). It is by no means a ‘LOVE HEALS EVERYTHING’ type of message, but medication is to be used as a tool to recovery, not a crutch, and the real road to recovery is reconnecting with the world by exploring new relationships and reinforcing standing ones. Each of the characters who is in turmoil finds comfort and support within each other. This movie just does a fantastic job showcasing what our personal relationships mean to us and that these relationships are there for you in your time of need.
I have nothing bad to say about this film. Usually for this site I tend to grade on a bell curve where 0’s and 5’s are reserved only for the truly special of films, games, and so forth.
This film is one of those and for all the right reasons. The direction is phenomenal, the acting is the stuff that legends are made of, the editing is phenomenal, cinematography, story, it simply succeeds on all levels.
Final Score: 5/5
Well there you have it, my first perfect score to a well deserved film. This marks the last of my experiment and I must say that I like it very much. The schedule will be posted soon so you can know what to expect of me on a weekly basis.
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