Silver Linings Playbook

Another triumph by David O. Russell. An atypical black rom-com with a really strong core cast to carry and deliver the emotional heft as adapted by Russell from Michael Quick's novel. Dark comedic laughs peppered a heavier subplot of mental illnesses, familial love and support, and how two damaged souls can find redemption between each other. Bradley Cooper gives the performance of his career, but amongst all the other heavyweights he's actually the weakest. His blue eyes played a more effective role here than their usual aesthetic purposes and helped to relay his character's confusion and hopelessness. However, he was not in character at all times, and sometimes he slipped. Other times he seemed more to be just shouting rather than manic. Nonetheless, well done Will Tippin! Jennifer Lawrence, on the other hand, is amazing. The film really got so much better when she was introduced. Her eyes convey so much more than Cooper's. She acts with her whole body and emotions are translated across her face, her body language, her eyes and her voice. That is what makes her fascinating to watch. But can she break out of this mould that has landed her two Oscar nominations? Lawrence and Cooper's chemistry was also very visceral and palpable. Their mutual attraction was clear and without it this rom-com would have fallen flat. Robert De Niro has finally stopped blind walking through his roles and showed us again why he used to be an Oscar winner; Jacki Weaver also gave an emotionally nuanced performance as the heart and emotional core of this dysfunctional family. Even Chris Tucker in minute amount was refreshing. Russell's directing is ace with its messiness and chaos punctured by moments of calms and long take, except for the over-frequent use of the spin-the-camera-around-the-actors ruse. He takes his time to introduce the characters and brings us into the headspace of these mentally ill characters and let us connect with all them. Allowing the audience the emotional connection that draws them into the relationship(s). But all without slowing the pace or barely any redundancy. Danny Elfman's music was typical and quirky and very apt for the story. This was a fascinating showcase as to how to make a simple storyline interesting: good director with a great cast!

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