Cast: Megan Charpentier, Jessica Chastain, Isabelle Nélisse, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Direction: Andrés Muschietti
Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes
STORY: Pat’s bipolar and wife Nikki leaves him. His one aim is getting Nikki back – when he meets depressive Tiffany. Who falls ‘madly’ in love?
Movie Review: Straight up, Silver Linings Playbook (SLP) is a lovely movie with a heart of caramel – and an occasionally brilliant mind. Teacher Patrick Solatano’s (Cooper) wife Nikki has a superiority complex – and an affair. Pat attacks her lover, Nikki leaves, Pat’s diagnosed with bipolar disorder and put into a facility. Eight months later, his mum Dolores (Weaver) has him discharged on condition he’ll stay with her and dad Pat Sr. (De Niro) – and away from Nikki. Optimist Pat’s one aim is getting better, so Nikki will take him back.
But he meets depressive Tiffany (Lawrence), whose grief at losing her husband turns her briefly to compulsive sex, helping whom – by partnering together for a dance competition – might help Pat win Nikki back. But first, Pat must deal with his obsessivecompulsive father, friend Danny (Tucker) whose mental health status isn’t quite certain, therapist Dr. Patel (Kher) who plays the one song that triggers Pat’s rage – and his own increasingly crazy feelings for Tiffany.
The acting simply shines – Cooper is magnificent as handsome oddball Pat, struggling to keep it sane, while Lawrence is a treat, her sadness-tinged sexiness like a modern Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Others deliver too, De Niro superbly superstitious about TV remotes during football games, Weaver strong as silk as a supportive mom, Tucker hilariously urging Pat and Tiffany to “black up” their dancing, Kher calmly noting, “That’s very, very manic indeed.” The story’s endearingly intelligent – “I apologize on behalf of Ernest Hemmingway!” yells Pat breaking a window, outraged by a novel’s sad ending – perfumed by quirky, unconventional romance, celebrating a love for life that hurts and heals together. There are tiny quibbles – it could’ve had a tangent less – but at the end, you’re left with pure silver lining and no cloud.