Movie #123 Silver Linings Playbook

A troubled man meets an equally troubled woman. Can a budding romance help to heal old wounds?

So, I saw this one awhile ago and have been ruminating on it since. I keep flicking back and forth between liking it and hating it and seem to have ended up somewhere in the middle. There is both plenty to like and plenty to dislike about this film, and I can’t help but be a bit disappointed even though overall I think it is a OK film, though this probably has a lot more to do with how much a few people I know raved about it before I saw it.

On the one hand we have two very good actors (Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper) bringing a lot of charm and energy to the screen. Their performances were believable and as endearing as they needed to be. The story makes you like Pat, played by Bradley Cooper, even though there is something clearly wrong with him and then quickly does the exact same thing with Tiffany, played by Jennifer Lawrence. The chemistry these two have in front of the camera are what makes this movie. Whenever the two of them have a chance to interact is when I was most interested. Seeing the two of them bounce against one another was entertaining to say the least. These are hardly the only interesting characters in the film. I would go so far as to say that every character in this film who gets more than two lines either has enough depth or at least implied depth that you truly get a sense for who the characters are.

Sadly for me that seems to be the only place “Silver Linings Playbook” truly impressed me. When I finished the film I was left with a warm feeling as I am sure was intended. But, as with all good movies, I continued to think about the film for awhile even after the credits rolled. It was then that I noticed the plot doesn’t seem to quite hold up. The amazing character work goes a long way to disguising it but the plot is hardly any different from the standard romantic comedy formula we have all come to be able to predict. Boy falls for girl, girl falls for boy, boy does something dumb and makes girl mad and then does something romantic/dashing to make it up to her and they fall in love! If you really look at “Silver Linings Playbook” you can see that it doesn’t depart from this formula in any way serious enough to make the departure interesting.

Silver Linings Playbook” is like a crappy old house that’s been repainted. Sure it looks nice from a distance and if you don’t pay attention too closely it will always look nice. But as soon as you scrutinize it in any way it falls apart and you realize its just the same old house its always been. 5.5/10

Available on Netflix Instant Streaming