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Silver Linings Playbook Film Review

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Wounded Souls Lean on Each Other in Tenderhearted Tale of Love

Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) completely lost it the day he came home early from work to find his wife (Brea Bee) naked in the shower with one of her colleagues (Ted Barba). In fact, he proceeded to beat up her lover so badly that the only way he avoided a prison sentence was by agreeing to enter a mental hospital.

That was eight months ago and now that he's being discharged he's eager to reconcile and reunite with Nikki. But that's not gonna happen, because she's so afraid of his temper that she sold their house and got a restraining order issued against him.

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Cooper speaking at the USS Ronald Reagan in July. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
And she has good reason to be concerned, since her ex has been diagnosed as bipolar with depression and anger management issues. Consequently, with no wife, job or home to return to, the state releases Pat to the custody of his parents (Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver), although he considers the move temporary.

While suffering under the delusion that Nikki will come back to him soon, he is introduced to a recently-widowed neighbor (Jennifer Lawrence). As luck would have it, Tiffany happens to afflicted with a very compatible set of weird neuroses.

She confides in him that she's been very promiscuous as of late, and that she was fired for sleeping with just about everybody in her office. A Platonic friendship is gradually forged between the two, with chivalrous Pat protecting rather than further exploiting the vulnerable young woman. Meanwhile, Tiffany agrees to secretly deliver forbidden letters to his estranged wife so long as he promises to be her dance partner in an upcoming ballroom competition.

Adapted from the Matthew Quick novel of the same name, Silver Linings Playbook is a tenderhearted tale about two terribly wounded souls who survive by grudgingly leaning on each other's shoulder. Written and directed by Academy Award-nominee David O. Russell (for The Fighter), this charming little film has already landed four well-deserved Golden Globe nominations in the Best Picture, Screenplay, Lead Actor and Lead Actress nominations.

The protagonists are played by People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive Bradley Cooper and Oscar-nominee Jennifer Lawrence (For Winter's Bone) who again exhibits an impressive acting range in service of an emotionally-demanding role. The pair's stellar supporting cast is at its best when providing comic relief, especially Anupam Kher as Pat's eccentric shrink, Chris Tucker as his motor-mouthed pal, and Robert De Niro as his obsessive-compulsive father.

Credit director Russell for keeping the audience captivated and in suspense for the duration with the help of a cleverly-concealed script as well as a motley crew of colorful characters. A slice-of-life romantic romp revolving around a couple of unstable misfits who take forever to wake up and realize they've found one another.

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for profanity, sexuality and nudity

Running time: 122 minutes

Distributor: The Weinstein Company

To see a trailer for Silver Linings Playbook:

Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Contact him through NewsBlaze. Read more reviews by Kam Williams.

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