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Silver Linings Playbook - Film Review

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by Kate Barrett (subscribe)
Exuberantly exploring this world of felines, food and trash!
Published February 4th 2013

There is a kind of disability that runs rife through society without much detection. The people that suffer from it have no clear way of showing that they have this thing about them that often makes life difficult. They don't sport physical aides and they don't scream out profanities on street corners, they amble along in quiet just trying to get by as best as possible. These people, like everyone else, want to be loved, and to love, and to be accepted.

I am speaking of those with the 'lower level' mental illnesses. The kinds that effect everyday life in small subtle ways. For the moment I'm speaking about bi-polar disorder and borderline personality disorder. This quiet section of difficult to live with people don't get a whole lot of press. They don't have blockbusters written about them or best-selling novels that millions of people will read.

Every now and then though, a light gets shed on this group, and their story has a chance to be heard by the wider community. This time that light is in the form of a cleverly and heartfelt written romantic comedy. Silver Linings Playbook takes the stories of two such people and demonstrates how wonderful life can be.

Director David O. Russell, who is known for finding ways to convey complex situations in ways that make them easily accessible for people unfamiliar with them, does so once again. Bradley Cooper gets to play a character not specifically designed to be more than just 'the handsome guy' and Jennifer Lawrence is allowed space to prove that with an appropriate character she can deliver an extremely nuanced and decidedly un-wooden performance. Both are delightful, enigmatic and enthralling as lead their lead characters, Pat and Tiffany.

Like any other of its genre, Silver Linings Playbook has the typical structure of every other predictable romantic comedy but with a couple of special differences. This one allows time for subtle and poignant moments to come shining through without the oily slick of cliches ruining everything. Every character is approachable, the parents are held responsible, and not once is there a computer graphics created twinkle in anyone's eye.

The dialogue is refreshing and playful, delivered with honest humble performances. At this point I feel I must give a respectful nod to Australia's own Jacki Weaver for holding her own alongside Hollywood heavyweight Robert De Niro. She plays the all-knowing and dutiful wife with almost unsettling accurate grace and depth.

Silver Linings Playbook does all of the things I could have asked for in a romantic comedy. It is fun and adventurous. It explores life and the heart in a way that remains with its audience in the days well after the curtain closes. This is a movie I will be purchasing on DVD and watching with the family on that special brand of weekend afternoon when all the world needs is a little laughter, love and hope.

If you or someone you know is suffering from an untreated mental illness there are a range of places you can call, such as Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue info line on 1300 22 4636.
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Your Comment
I watched Silver Linings Playbook last week with a friend & was a little disappointed with it actually, especially after all the rave reviews I'd heard about it prior. The constant football references in the movie made it harder to follow as well. I loved Jacki Weaver though. She was outstanding in it and held her own against Robert De Niro. Jennifer Lawrence was quite good too and I look forward to seeing her in alot more movies like this. My favourite part of the movie was the dance competiion they entered and went up against professional couples. That was funny!
It was okay, but I wouldn't see it again myself and I definitely wouldn't buy it on DVD when it comes out. Watch it for yourself and make up your own minds.
by steve (score: 2|134) 1926 days ago
I watched the movie on the weekend and certainly enjoyed it. I found my mind did not wander and i was really caught up with the story. I could relate to the two main characters and felt a sense of being comfortable in their presence.
by toodl (score: 1|75) 1925 days ago
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