“Exhausted” might be the correct term to describe how viewers are likely to feel walking out of the theater after watching “Silver Linings Playbook.”
This feeling comes from 122 minutes of film in which approximately 80 percent of the dialogue is accomplished through hostile argument. Although the edginess of the film fits the subject, moviegoers might experience relief when the credits roll.
“Silver Linings Playbook” is a drama that stars Bradley Cooper as Pat Solitano and Jennifer Lawrence as Tiffany Maxwell.
Pat is a former substitute teacher recently discharged from a mental hospital after an eight-month stay. Pat has lost everything —his job, his house and his wife — and is forced to live with his parents while he continues to recover from his bi-polar condition and has random anger outbursts that he refuses to control with medication.
While having dinner at a friend’s house, Pat meets Tiffany. The two become close due to similar circumstances, and the remainder of the movie shows the gradual distance they put between each other and their struggles.
“Silver Linings Playbook” will disappoint viewers hoping to see a true comedy. Aside from two or three humorous lines, the film is filled with deep and heavy content.
At one point, Pat wakes up his parents at 3 a.m. because he can’t find the tape of his wedding. This triggers one of his worst anger outbursts of the movie, and the scene ends with the police in the house, all of the neighbors on their porches and Pat, his mother and his father with bruised faces.
This intensity is typical of many scenes, and if that’s where the writers wanted the content to be “comical,” then they were making light of a very real struggle for families and individuals living with mental disorders. But if viewers go in with the right expectations, “Silver Linings Playbook” is a good representation of this struggle as it affects each character in different ways.
The producers should forget the comedy label on the tagline. Viewers would not put this into the same category as movies such as “Date Night” or “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” as the label suggests. It is not a sappy romance story that relies on drama to enhance the comedy or vice versa. “Silver Linings Playbook” is a serious story of people who are broken and need love to heal. The drama is enough to sustain itself without pinning comedy onto the description.
Jennifer Lawrence shows off her talent in the film. She portrays her angry, intense and broken character well. This is evident in the way she walks, stares intently at other characters and speaks bluntly with Pat and her sister. Tiffany has a strong, stubborn personality, and Lawrence is consistent in manifesting these traits throughout the film, even as Tiffany continues to heal and evolve.
Viewers’ experiences with “Silver Linings Playbook” will vary dependent on their expectations. Do not expect to laugh a lot. Do not expect to be more relaxed or a happier person when you leave.
Expect to be made aware of the issues presented for someone experiencing a mental illness. If viewers can do this, “Silver Linings Playbook” will be an immensely worthwhile, well-made film.
Rating: 4 stars