Silver Linings Playbook is surprisingly one of the year’s best!

Why surprising?  Because it looks like a typical romantic comedy, yet with a sharp, intelligent script written by director David O. Russell and fine, award-worthy performances you end up with a beautifully funny, honest look at the human condition.

Russell has become a master of subtlety and realism.  Like in The Fighter, he puts very non-Hollywood characters on the screen.  These are real people.  Broken, vulnerable, strong, generous, manipulating, etc-etc.  This is what life looks like–messy.

And although some may argue that his direction is little more than “point and shoot”, they’re missing his careful craft.  The decisions Russell makes are the reason this does not fall into the typical rom-com formula.  He is not afraid to linger on the ugly stuff and he knows how to build characters.  As someone who has first hand knowledge of mental illness, I appreciated how Russell handled the subject–he never turns it into melodrama or theatrics.  Well done.  Silver Linings Playbook is perfectly written and directed–Russell deserves any and all accolades heading his way and he may have, again, guided actors to award glory.

Let’s start with Bradley Cooper.  He is a revelation.  I’ve liked him since Alias (Will Tippin  shout out!) and have enjoyed following his career, but this is the fulfillment of his potential.  I knew he had it in him! Cooper plays a man, who is NOT a catch–he is tormented and scarred and you still want to cheer for him.  That is largely due to Cooper’s charm.  This guy is a star.

And now for the lovely Jennifer Lawrence.  WOW!  She is incredible.  She blew me away in Winter’s Bone and I knew then, that she was a force to be reckoned with–boy, I was right.  There are several scenes that she had me spellbound.  It’s amazing that someone who is so young can emote such strength and confidence that is also laced with pain and longing.  This girl is a star.

Add an amazing supporting cast–Robert De Niro (best performance in a while), Jackie Weaver (not evil this time, but still awesome), Chris Tucker (he can act!?) and two great character actors that get some well deserved screen time–Anupam Kher and John Ortiz–and you have a strong assemble that only enhances the story.

I can go on and on–but you know what I am going to say–I want to enjoy this all on your own.  You are in for a wonderful slice of life–you will laugh and cry and hopefully learn something from the experience.

Silver Linings Playbook Official Movie Trailer [HD] – YouTube

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