Thursday, January 10, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook

Alphabetically the last of the four movies I caught at theaters over the holidays, Silver Linings Playbook is also by far the best of the lot--and almost certainly far and away the cheapest of them to make.

The basic plot is as old as it gets: boy meets girl.  The boy, though, is a thirty-something man fresh out of a mental hospital, where the courts put him after a violent outbreak that occurred when he caught his wife cheating with another man.  Bright, bipolar, and tormented, Bradley Cooper's Pat is at turns violent, loud, and frightening, then quiet and tormented, touching and scary, a real person who is doing his best to grapple with the serious mental illness he is fighting. 

Jennifer Lawrence as Tiffany, the girl Pat meets, is a twenty-something woman with a similar bipolar disorder but very different behaviors and symptoms.  Charming one moment and enraged and frightening the next, Lawrence's Tiffany is another very real, very troubled person.

The supporting cast is also uniformly strong, led by the best performance from Robert DeNiro in years.

The writing is excellent, with a story full of just the right blends of magic and realism, love and pain, suffering and redemption.

I absolutely loved this movie and cannot recommend it strongly enough.  It will at times make you uncomfortable, and it will at other times require a bit of suspension of disbelief, but in the end it is a wonderful piece of work that shows the holiday blockbusters what movies can do on small budgets with strong writing and great acting. 

Do not miss this one.

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