Excelsior. It means onwards and upwards, a common theme throughout this movie.
“Silver Linings Playbook” is a tell-all tale that will make you feel bad for Bradley Cooper’s character, Pat, when you find out his wife cheated on him. It will make you laugh when Jennifer Lawrence’s character, Tiffany, is harsh and brash, but you can’t help but love her. You will cry when Robert De Niro’s character, Pat Sr., gives a heartfelt talk to his son, about how horrible he feels for not always being there for him like he was for his eldest.
The film starts by getting right into it, no beating around the bush.
It begins with Pat being discharged from a mental hospital, where he was treated for bipolar disorder. Prior to that he had a mental breakdown, which was brought on when he caught his wife cheating on him with a co-worker.
Pat leaves the hospital and moves back in with his parents with the hopes of winning back the love of his wife. A difficult task considering she filed a restraining order against him after a violent episode where he nearly beat said co-worker to death.
One thing I did not understand about the movie was why he would want to get back with her after everything that had happened. She cheated on him. Sure he reacted in a manic way, but she shouldn’t be the one to end the relationship.
I just could not wrap my mind around why he would want to be with her, and I do not think the story between the two characters was strong enough to make someone believe that they belong together for any reason.
While out on a run one day, again trying to better himself to impress his wife, who, may I remind you, wants nothing to do with him, he runs into an old friend who invites him over to dinner.
At dinner that night is where we meet Tiffany. Right off the bat, you find out she is a widow and is a little messed up in the head. Because of that, she and Pat click.
Both characters are distraught and it seems the help of each other is all they have to get through the personal messes in their lives. They form an unconventional friendship that no one saw coming. They also both have things the other wants.
Tiffany’s sister is the best friend of Nikki, Pat’s wife, and she agrees to give Nikki any letters that Pat wants to write, realizing by doing this she will have to work around the restraining order to give Nikki the letters. In return, Pat must help her in a dance competition. He agrees.
They begin to learn dance after dance and become amateurs in the art itself. I must note, during this film sequence, they played quite the enticing song. Bob Dylan’s “Girl From the North Country” featuring Johnny Cash, played as they memorized each dance, which is a bit strange considering it’s not an upbeat dance song but rather emotional. I could not help but stop and just appreciate how oddly well the song fit with the story being told.
“I really love that song,” said David O. Russell, director of the film. “It plays through the whole montage of the two characters finally connecting and turning a corner and it’s counterintuitive because it’s not a dance song; it’s an emotional song. ‘Girl From the North Country’ is a big favorite of mine. I knew I wanted to use it in the film but I wasn’t sure where. It’s one of those songs that when you find where it fits – it’s perfect.”
The dance competition was supposed to be something that was fun.
Knowing they would be competing against some professionals they knew not to get their hopes up until things got a little more serious.
Pat Sr., who has recently lost his job, has taken to bookmaking to earn enough money to open his own restaurants. He made a bad bet and nearly lost all his savings, but a chance to win back his money, double or nothing, comes along.
Pat Sr., makes a parlay, a single bet that links together two or more wagers and is dependant on all wagers winning together, with a friend. The bet is that not only will Philadelphia beat Dallas in their next game, but his son will score an average of five out of 10 in the dance competition, both of which take place on the same day.
The dance turns out to be charming but not quite on par with the professional dancers that are also competing there.
But all that did not really matter. It was the dance that helped both Tiffany and Pat overcome their tragic pasts, finally being able to see the silver lining. They worked together and learned from one another and could finally be happy once again, even if they did only score five points.
Lawrence won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture for a Musical or Comedy.
“Silver Linings Playbook” has also received eight nominations for this year’s 85th Annual Academy Awards Show including Lawrence and Cooper
for Best Actress and Best Actor, respectively. De Niro is also nominated for Best Supporting Actor, and the film is nominated for Best Picture.
Facts and Tidbits
Director: David Owen Russell
Running Time: 2 hours and 2 minutes
Released: Nov. 16, 2012
Rating: R for language and some sexual content and nudity
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Box Office: $69,536,219
Other Films by Director: “The Fighter,” “Flirting with Disaster”
Review Rundown: Roger Ebert: 3.5/5
Rolling Stone: 3.5/4
Entertainment Weekly: A
Random Fact: Rachel McAdams, Olivia Wilde, Elizabeth Banks, Blake Lively, Rooney Mara, Kirsten Dunst and Andrea Riseborough were considered for Jennifer Lawrence’s role.
Review by Savannah Sawyer, Assistant Features Editor.