A new review from The Movie Snob.
Silver Linings Playbook (B+). Beneath all the stuff about mental illness, Silver Linings Playbook is a very conventional movie–much more conventional than I would have expected from director David O. Russell (The Fighter, I Heart Huckabees). As the film opens, a guy in his mid-30s named Patrick (Bradley Cooper, Limitless) is getting released into his parents’ custody after spending eight months in a mental institution. We quickly learn that he suffers from bipolar disorder, that he got locked up after nearly killing a man that he caught having sex with his wife Nikki, and that he is deeply obsessed with getting Nikki back (despite a restraining order that forbids him to contact her). Soon after his release, Patrick meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone), a young widow who has plenty of mental-health issues of her own. Tiffany says she’ll deliver a letter from Patrick to Nikki, but he has to pay her back by being her partner in a dance contest. (Seriously? A dance contest?) There’s also a subplot involving Patrick’s somewhat OCD father (Robert De Niro, Stardust), who is risking his life savings doing some illegal bookmaking. Anyhoo, the movie did not feel very honest to me, especially the part about mentally ill people being as put-together looking and attractive as Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. But, in my humble opinion, romantic movies don’t have to be too honest if the romance works, and this one does. Cooper is good, but I thought Lawrence was phenomenal, dominating every scene she was in as the vulnerable-but-kind-of-scary Tiffany. In sum, I didn’t believe it, but I did enjoy it.