Hope springs eternal in the human breast, or so we are told by optimists of all kinds. This seems to especially be the case when what one is hoping for is that ever elusive ‘true love’. It becomes all the more elusive when you are dealing with seriously messed up young people– such as encounter in ‘Silver Linings Playbook’. It is sometimes hard to tell who exactly is the most messed up— Is it Pat Solitano (played very well indeed by Bradley Cooper) who is bi-polar and on top of that has lost his wife, and has anger issues having to do with his birth family as well? Or is it Tiffany (played in award winning fashion by Jennifer Lawrence) who lost her cop husband and fell into a deep depression which in turn led to her having sex with anything that moved in her office which in turn led to her being fired. Not to mention that she has major anger issues and a potty mouth (which in the main is the cause of the R rating of this film). At times she reminds one of the Proverb about the swine with a jewel in its nose and the beautiful woman without discretion.
Then of course there is dear old Dad (played to the hilt by a feisty Robert Deniro) who has a wife that reminds one of the wife of Archie Bunker. The man has been banned from Eagles games for fighting, and in turn has taken to taking bets on Eagles games to make a living. It’s another story of blue collar squalor in Philly, but not nearly as endearing as Rocky nor nearly as effective as the Fighter when it comes to family drama.
Nevertheless, despite our probable lack of empathy for this family gumbo there are some excellent moments in this film, and don’t we all love a story that includes some human redemption, some kind of silver lining? It can be inspiring to watch a bi-polar person learn how to cope and even lead a semi-normal life overcoming considerable odds. This is a story largely about that. I have a quibble however. Jennifer Lawrence did not deserve a best actress nod from the SAG awards folks when her competition was Jessica Chastain and Sally Fields. This is one of those cases where actors can be wrong about acting. Jennifer’s good, but not that good, and frankly the movie focuses on Cooper’s character, not on her anyway.
Of the movies still showing that got a second lease on life due to the awards season, this one is worth seeing, perhaps even in the wake of, or in honor of Valentine’s Day. For sure, it is way better than the pathetic films that are usually released in January and February.