The film is a balanced mix of the light-hearted humor of romantic comedies with a realistic drama about mental illness.
The banter between two misfits who have no filter – a self-deluded guy with bi-polar and an unabashedly forward widow dealing with depression – is witty and hilarious. There’s also a family subplot that adds another realistic, warm, and funny layer to the familiar story.
Bradley Cooper delivers a surprisingly good performance. His character could have easily come off as a jerk – Pat constantly preaches about optimism but he’s in denial of the reality of his marriage. But Cooper manages to make him likable and walks the thin line between the annoying asshole and the amusing train wreck.
Jennifer Lawrence is remarkable, giving an edge to the staple manic pixie dream girl that is usually paired with the crazy white male protagonist.
Robert De Niro is great as the superstitious Father and Football bookie who is also delusional in his own way. He insists on the existence of a “juju” and relies on random good luck charms which he firmly believes help the Philadelphia Eagles, and consequently him, to win.
As standard romantic comedies go, the plot is conventional. The ending is predictable and contrived. Still, Silver Linings Playbook used all the good storytelling opportunities that Garden State squandered.
The Silver Linings Playbook is a funny, realistic, and infectiously optimistic love story. It shows us that mentally unstable people can still find their own happiness.
Silver Linings Playbook
Silver Linings Playbook is an offbeat dramedy elevated by realistic drama and the JLaw-BCoop pairing.