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Silver Linings Playbook by David O. Russell

February 5, 2013

One day Pat Solitano Jr. (Bradley Cooper) came home from work early, found his wife Nikki having sex with another man, beat him senseless, was diagnosed a bipolar disorder, lost his hob and had to spend eight months in a mental facility, in the meantime Nikki (Brea Bee) obtained a restraining order to keep Pat away from her: now Pat is back home – his parents’ home, Nikki sold their house while he was in the hospital – and he wants to win back his wife and his job. Director David O. Russell is well known – there was a video on YouTube a few years ago from the set of I Heart Huckabees – for many episodes of abusive behavior, I ignore if Russell is bipolar but he looks like the right guy to film a subject like this. Russell has injected so much energy into this film that it works fine though Bradley Cooper reveals himself a bad casting choice: he is good at portraying the quick changing of mood and the irritable/aggressive moments, but his acting is a complete void of expression in the periods of good mood.

Russell’s kinetic style suits the story and the (numerous) cast of characters does a great job: Tiffany – the crazier than Pat girl – is played with gusto by Jennifer Lawrence, Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro) and Dolores (Jacki Weaver) make a perfect dysfunctional couple and even smaller parts like Dr. Cliff Patel (Anupam Kher) Ronnie and Veronica (John Ortiz and Julia Stiles) are played effectively. Silver Linings Playbook looks like a screwball comedy but it sounds like a screamball one, while the protagonist may be a guy suffering from bipolar disorder the film is monopolar: everybody is screaming or acting mad all the time, nonetheless the film works, Russell’s inventiveness compensates for his lack of equilibrium.

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