With 2010’s “The Fighter,” David O. Russell took a fact-based story of dysfunctional household dynamics and drug habit, framed it within the conventions of an underdog sports activities drama and earned an Oscar nomination.
The author-director makes one other play for the gold statuette with “Silver Linings Playbook,” which attracts up a personality examine of psychological sickness throughout the protected confines of a romantic comedy.
Movies about folks with psychological sickness are notoriously difficult given the tremendous line between no-holds-barred authenticity and offensive caricature.
Stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence exceed expectations — which have been mighty lofty in Lawrence’s case, contemplating the 22-year-old has already earned an Oscar nomination — with their usually uproarious and continuously heartbreaking portrayal of an emotionally unstable pair.
Primarily based on Matthew Fast’s novel, the “Playbook” opens with former instructor Pat Solitano (Cooper) leaving a Baltimore psychological hospital after eight months of court-supervised care, which was ordered after he almost beat his spouse’s lover to dying. Pat’s caring, consolation food-cooking mom, Dolores (Jacki Weaver), brings him dwelling to Philadelphia, the place his obsessive-compulsive, sports-fanatic father, Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro in his finest efficiency in years), rapidly turns into satisfied that his son’s return to Philly is the great luck appeal the NFL Eagles want.
Now bodily match, outfitted with therapeutic slogans about silver linings and optimistic attitudes however nonetheless refusing to take remedy for his bipolar dysfunction, Pat thinks he’s merely optimistic in believing he can win again his estranged spouse. In actuality, he is delusional and never almost in addition to he insists.
Over dinner together with his loyal pal Ronnie (John Ortiz) and Ronnie’s chilly spouse Veronica (Julia Stiles), Pat has an outrageous first encounter with Veronica’s youthful sister Tiffany (Lawrence), a depressive widow who just lately obtained fired from her job as a result of she actually slept with everybody there.
Pat and Tiffany quickly are evaluating prescription drug preferences, swapping blunt, wildly inappropriate observations and exchanging sharply witty barbs with the aplomb of Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn in “The Philadelphia Story.”
Like an cute pewee soccer squad, Russell’s movie careens cutely and chaotically from Pat’s scary middle-of-the-night meltdown, stunningly scored to Led Zeppelin’s “What Is and What Ought to By no means Be,” to their doe-eyed bonding over coaching for a dance competitors, impressed by “Singin’ within the Rain” clips and training from Pat’s remedy buddy Danny (Chris Tucker, refreshingly low-key).
Though the story typically drags and the predictable rom-com ending feels too pat, “Silver Linings Playbook” scores some intriguing insights into what psychological sicknesses we take into account socially acceptable — Pat Sr.’s soccer superstitions are the stuff of beer commercials, whereas his son’s violent knee-jerk response to his marriage ceremony tune would provoke best folks to name the cops — due to championship-caliber performances.