Films | Silver Linings Playbooks – Movie Review

Silver Linings Playbooks – Movie Review

Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on February 24, 2013 | No Comments

PRODUCER – Bruce Cohen, Donna Gigliotti
DIRECTOR – David O. Russell
WRITER – David O. Russell (Screenplay), Matthew Quick (based on his novel
CAST – Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker
MUSIC – Danny Elfman

Sometimes films tell us more about ourselves than we know. It’s not as much as the lives that unfold onscreen but or own responses to those stories that become our mirrors. At times they touch a raw nerve or tickle our imagination, at others nudge our conscience or ignite our latent wisdom. In all ways they make us richer. Based on a book by Matthew Quick, Silver Linings Playbook, a film that deals with borderline individuals, is one such film.

The director David Russell chanced upon the book while looking to learn ways to make the road ahead easier for his son, diagnosed with autism. It is probably this personal quest, fuelled by the desire to connect that imbues the film with so much heart. For it is that rare film which lays bare the inner lives of its characters and communicates.

Pat (Bradley Cooper) has the bipolar personality disorder and is sent into asylum after a bitterly violent incident revolving around his wife’s lover. After eight months of rehab he comes back into the ‘normal’ world a more physically fitter and focused person but with a singular desire to get back with his wife.

He meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a social misfit like him with a troubled past. Their emotional dysfuntionalities makes a bridge between them, each desiring to help the other. Tiffany agrees to deliver Pat’s letters to his ex-wife and Pat agrees to take part in a dance competition to fulfill her life-long dream as a part of the deal.

In an intuitively revealing narrative, Russell unearths the romance in this unlikely story with charm and lightness. There is a tender amusement in the treatment of Pat and his family, especially his relationship with his obsessive-compulsive father Robert De Niro. The kid glove treatment Pat receives from his family drums up a feeling atmosphere that merely touches upon a raw atmosphere full of people who barely know how to survive but are doing their best.

It is with the same tenderness that the film handles Tiffany’s character. In her consuming loneliness and awareness of her isolated condition is a sparkling balance between her inner world of chaos and the external world of sense, logic and keeping it together. She is struggling just like Pat but somehow in between helping themselves and each other, they find a road to love, to a wholesome better future.

But the real film isn’t in the love story or happily ever after. It lies in its characters, their everyday battles, their faith, their routine successes and failure, their little lies and their truth. It is one of those rare films that test the definitions of sanity as we term it. While, the romance itself may not be life-affirming, the naked look we get into the reality of the psychologically scarred is beautiful. There is a constant energy, a frantic nervousness that forms the tone of the entire film. Its chatty universe is overwhelming at the same time loudly speaks of how much we try to shout down real problems, afraid of the truths spoken in silence, how we drown them out in incessant noise. Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro’s brilliant performances tear open a universe shrouded under the tag of ‘not ok’ with so much passion and conviction, it’s impossible not to fall in love with them.

Silver Linings Playbook is all about finding the glass half full, the silver lining in the world we have in front of us. It takes the dysfunctional to tell us there is no one way to do it, except do it. It is sound advice.

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