3/4

Silver Linings Playbook [2012] ★★★

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You will hear a lot about this movie. But first you’ll hear it from me. It’s damn rare these days to encounter a film that doesn’t rely on cheap tricks and a predictable script. That’s one reason why “Silver Linings Playbook” is so good. The characters in it are like nothing we’ve seen before, and they give us rooting interest which is always crucial in a character driven picture.That would be Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, both at the top of their game. Cooper plays a bipolar teacher who just got out of eight months in a mental hospital. Lawrence is a young widow still mourning the death of her husband by sleeping with…well almost everyone. They’re both fucked up and they know it, which makes things even more “interesting” when they first meet at a dinner one night. “Can we get through one fucking conversation without you reminding me that my goddamn husband’s dead?” she says to him at some point. Told you they were weird. I’ve always been a fan of Lawrence, ever since her breakthrough role in “Winter’s Bone”, but she manages to top herself here. As for Cooper, I knew he had potential, but I never expected him to be this good. But what truly makes things work is the chemistry between the two. They relate to each other and their connection couldn’t be more credible. As for the supporting cast, you’ve got Robert DeNiro back on his feet after a series of disappointing roles, Jacki Weaver (terrific in “Animal Kingdom”) as Cooper’s mom, and even funny man Chris Tucker as one his pals.

Is “Silver Linings” sometimes too clever and facile for its own good? You got that right. But it’s also a hip and hilarious movie. The devil in director David O. Russell’s script lets in wit, anger, distress and the pain of losing someone you love. The film is more than a few smiles; it makes you laugh deeply. It’s one from the bruised heart. And Cooper and Lawrence’s are the pulse of the story, presenting us with life in all of its vibrant, messy sprawl. That’s pretty good stuff.

Rating: 3/4

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