Movie review: Silver Linings Playbook (M)

A SCARILY accurate look at the affects of bipolar disorder is accompanied by heart-warming charm in Silver Linings Playbook.

When Pat Solitano is discharged from a mental institution with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder after he beat the man his wife was cheating with he moves back in with his superstitious father (Robert De Niro) and doting mother (Australia’s Jackie Weaver) and is eager to get his life back on track.

When Pat meets young widow Tiffany, the two become a support network to each other after a cautious first few meetings.

Silver Linings Playbook has had Oscars buzz surrounding it since October last year and in January it received eight nominations.

It is the first film in 32 years to receive nominations in all four acting categories and also got the nod for best picture, best director, best adapted screenplay and best film editing.

Early in the film it is easy to see why Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, De Niro and Weaver were nominated.

Each are fantastic in their own roles and together create as much love as there is dysfunction throughout the film.

De Niro and Lawrence are probably the most likely to win Oscars while Cooper and Weaver are against nominees from Lincoln and Les Miserables, which are tipped to sweep the awards.

But awards aren’t everything and one of the most fascinating things about Silver Linings Playbook is the balance director David O Russell has bought to the screen. Russell previously directed Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees and The Fighter.

His work of creating a tense atmosphere is excellent. A lot of the time when things don’t go well for Pat, the audience waits for his massive mood swing and angry explosion.

It underlines what is really going on as Pat works to find a silver lining to his life and starts to accept what he needs to do to control and beat his mental disease.

Jennifer Lawrence’s character Tiffany also has a similar air about her.

As a young widow, sex addict and generally unpredictable character, the chemistry between Lawrence and Cooper is impossible not to watch. 

It is a credit to Lawrence’s talent that she can be a part of blockbuster franchise The Hunger Games while also keeping dramatic integrity in Silver Linings Playbook and fellow  Oscar-nominated film  Winter’s Bone (which was her first Oscar nomination).

Silver Linings Playbook is also extremely relatable with each of the characters facing a dilemma that is common in real life.

It might be arranging the TV remotes a certain way while you watch your favourite football team, keeping a marriage fresh and exciting or, indeed, maintaining a focus on a silver lining during a grey area in your life.

And it is the silver linings in a film that could have been grey that make this movie worth seeing. 

The Verdict: 4 stars.  

- Silver Linings Playbook (M) is now showing at Bendigo Cinemas. See page 3 of the Bendigo Advertiser for details. 

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