Silver Linings Playbook – It’s Not Shit
You know those movies where every line and character is just hilarious and relatable and not an awkward lump of coal?
TL;DR Silver Linings Playbook is about as close to perfection that a non-genre movie is gonna get for me. Apart from bizarre plot bogs (dancing and betting? Wtf?), there’s nothing really to not enjoy. 5 out of 5 stars.
The plot starts off simply enough. Bradley Cooper is Pat, some guy being released from a mental health facility after 8 months of treatment following an explosion of his bipolar. He moves back in with his parents (‘Straya Cunt Jacki Weaver and Robert De Niro) and longs to see his estranged wife. He’s set up with fellow mental health problematic Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence. Yeah, you know her), because that’s apparently a sensible thing for people to do. Luckily, it works out okay. Near the end, the plot is swallowed by some big betting thing that De Niro has going on, which coincides with this formerly arbitrary dance performance that Tiffany and Pat were rehearsing for.
And everyone gets a happy ending. Which is nice for a fucking change.
What really sells this movie is the performances. Obviously J-Law brings the goods. Bitch didn’t get her Oscar for nothin’. But Bradley Cooper is the real standout for me. I normally find him mildly attractive but otherwise unremarkable (The Midnight Meat Train sucked. Hate me). But as a broken-but-trying-to-stay-positive guy, he was frighteningly endearing.
Very Logan Lerman in Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Why I DON’T hate this movie:
There’s just something about dudes who are sad. Just let me hug you. And maybe make out with you. And more.
Bradley does a good job with the whole manic thing, too. I believed it. And honestly, even though he comes off as a bit cray (duh), he pretty much has a point most of the time. He often says things bluntly, so he’s just being honest. He’s like Regina George, but less GODDESS.
J-Law shouldn’t be discounted, either. She’s equally as blunt, and gets to talk about sex and say fuck a lot. Which is heaven. Put that in the Hunger Games sequels, gurl.
De Niro puts on his classic “grizzled old Italian” act, which is just what the role needed. He’s a fine mix of concerned, selfish and dismissive.
Jacki Weaver is cute in her limited role. She facillitates Tiffany’s initial stalking of Pat when he’s jogging by tipping her off whenever he went out. It’s adorable.
Pat’s doctor is an awesome dude. He’s not afraid to tell him like it is and swear and shit. Then Pat runs into him later at an Eagles game, where the doctor is a face-painted fanatic. Bonus points for when Pat and his brother defend the doctor and his Indian friends (also huge fans) from some racist dicks. A brawl with a purpose.
Ronnie, Pat’s friend, has a bizarre but funny subplot about how crushed he is by responsibility. When he’s alone in the garage, he listens to Metallica and breaks things. It’s okay, though, because he ends up working with his marriage to wife Julia Stiles (who is also Tiffany’s sister).
The whole tone of the movie also complements the delightful characters. I never felt like the filmmakers were hovering over my shoulder with the Melodrama Stick, constantly yelling at me to “take it seriously! Emote!”
The dancing plot takeover was stupid, but the actual dance scene was pretty awesome. Tiffany’s outfit is fuckin’ hot, and they do a decent job for amateurs. They had fun. As did I.
I actually teared up a little bit when Tiffany ran out, thinking that Bradley would be going back to his wife. I was very relieved when they sorted their shit out (in typically glib fashion). And they even got to stay together by the end of the film.
During one of their jogging encounters, Pat spits out of frustration/stress. Tiffany responds by imitating his spitting. It’s these moments, baby.
Tiffany’s summary of The Lord of the Flies is accurate (though she forgot the paedophilia subtext).
I’m not even gonna award a best line, because there are just way too many of them. Pretty much every piece of dialogue between Pat and Tiffany is unbelievably good.
Oh, and Chris Tucker gives Pat and Tiffany some dancing tips. You know he’s got the experience.
Reasons to hate:
The dancing/betting thing taking over near the end is seriously wtf. Silver Linings Playbook was a fine drama about people with psychological conditions connecting and trying to live their lives, then suddenly it feels like we’re in the the 3rd act of an underdog sports movie. Honestly, what the hell?
De Niro’s betting gets super out of control, too. He firstly bets all his money on 1 game, which he loses. Then Tiffany somehow spurs him onto to double or nothing it, and they add the extra condition of her and Pat performing well at the dance contest. I know these people have disorders, but come on. That just came out of fucking nowhere. I didn’t believe it for a second.
Still speaking about disorders, who the fuck thought it would be a good idea to set up a recently-released-from-an-8-month-stay-in-a-mental-hospital bipolar man (off his meds) with a widowed depressive? Ronnie, Veronica (Julia Stiles) and Pat’s parents all seem to have conspired to make it happen. I mean, they end up being right, but come on.
Pat’s brother is weird. He starts off being an absolutely smug, fuckhead braggart. Then immediately transforms into someone sensitive and supportive. Maybe literally all of Pat’s family is mentally fucked.
After a fight, Tiffany storms off and Pat tries to track her down to explain himself. Tiffany starts screaming that he’s harassing her in front of a large group of people, who obviously believe her and turn on Pat. She thankfully recants once she sees what a cunt move it was, but the dude almost had a total breakdown because she played the “woman” card. Almost unforgivable. She’s lucky she swears a lot.
Oh, and what was up with that garbage bag thing? It’s a sweater? What?
Good god, this movie is amazing. I laughed, I cried, and nothing about it made me die inside. Not even making that appalling rhyme. I’ve always wanted to find Jennifer Lawrence overrated (because I’m a hipster. Keep up), but it looks like The Hunger Games just isn’t the place for her to show off what she can do. SLP is that place. It’s not shit. 5 out of 5 stars.