Silver Linings Playbook
Director: David O. Russell
Writer: David O. Russell
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro
Plot: Pat has just been released from a mental hospital after having a break down when he caught his wife with another man. Pat is determined to get his life back in order and win back his estranged wife.
So what did you think?
Adam – I loved it almost as much as love watching football on a crisp Sunday afternoon. One of the best films that I watched this year. Worthy of all the accolades its been receiving and redemption for the much maligned David O Russell. This one really hit me on an emotional level that I was not expecting.
Scotty - Overall I thought this film was very good, I do have a few issues I will discuss throughout the review but I did like the movie and thought it was well done.
Griff – This one was on my top ten for the year and with good reason. It’s a great story with great cast and some impressive performances by everyone involved. I really enjoyed this movie.
Any thoughts before you saw the movie?
Adam – Ugh a lame romcom with Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, why and the hell do we have to review this drivel. I had been avoiding this film like the plague since it was released earlier in the year.
Scotty – I was very excited to see this and my expectations were really high, it has been praised by many people I know and I was thinking it was going to be a breakout performance for Lawrence. I am quickly becoming a big fan of hers.
Griff – I had heard and read nothing but good things about this movie so I was really looking forward to checking it out.
Did you think this movie was fresh and/or innovative?
Adam – An amazing blend of romance, family dynamics, mental health, dance, football and classic literature provided a level of watchability that caught me completely off guard. I had never heard of the author Matthew Quick but I would be interested to read some of his other work and would be surprised if Hollywood does not come knocking again after the success of SLP.
Scotty - I thought it was pretty fresh and innovative love story.
Griff – Movie of this type always follow a pretty similar formula, boy meets girl, tension causes them to split, boy realizes he can’t live without girl. SLP doesn’t exactly break any new ground with this three act scenario but it still manages to feel fresh. What makes these movies work is the chemistry between the leads and this is where SLP shines.
Did you think the script was well written?
Adam – Somehow they managed to blend the romantic elements of a romcom including a dance contest with mens love of football without screwing it up. A lot of films try to strike a similar balance but fail miserably. While I realize the characters were also suffering from various forms of mental illness the script almost made the behaviors seem normalized.
Scotty – I thought the script was great for most of the film but I also felt like they lost themselves somewhere. I was shocked by the humor and I found the first 2 acts to be incredibly moving and funny, the final act was a little weak though.
Griff - This is really the strength of SLP. It is a very clever script. The ability to tie in football with a love story is pure genius. Having a football sub plot really makes the movie more accessible to a male audience.
Was there a performance you really liked or really hated?
Adam – Wow so many great performances to talk about in this one. I knew Lawrence was a solid actress after first seeing her in Winters Bone but that lame Hunger Games had me questioning if that was sort of a one shot deal. Bradley Cooper shows more depth in this one film than I had seen in the rest of his films combined. Nice to see Chris Tucker in something besides a Rush Hour film. Lastly I don’t know what finally lit a fire under De Niro’s ass but I loved him in this. Such a great actor, you almost forget with all the recent cashing a paycheck films he has been in lately. I hope this is a sign of a resurgence.
Scotty – I thought the whole supporting cast was great Robert De Niro, Chris Tucker, and Jacki Weaver, without them this film would have been average, they pushed it over the top.
Griff - This was one of the best performances I have seen from DeNiro in years. Cooper was surprisingly good here as well. For my money though, Lawrence was the true standout. She was perfect for the role.
Do you remember a song from the film?
Adam – I really dug the use of Fell In Love With a Girl by The White Stripes during the dance contest.
Scotty - Girl from the North Country by Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash was the song I remembered the most although the soundtrack was great throughout. Funny the scene with this song reminded me a little of Shelter From the Storm from Jerry Maguire, both Dylan songs both well placed.
Griff - Well the most memorable song has to be My Cherie Amour by Stevie Wonder
What was your favorite line?
Adam – “Mom, I can’t for what, I can’ apologize. I’m not going to apologize for this. You know what I will do? I will apologize on behalf of Ernest Hemingway because that who’s to blame here” -Pat
Scotty – “I am practicing being kind over being right.”
Griff – Tiffanny – “You know, for a while, I thought you were the best thing that ever happened to me. But now I’m starting to think you’re the worst.”
Pat – “Of course you do. Come on, let’s go dance.”
What would have made this a better movie?
Adam - Ummm some hot end of the movie bumping uglies with naked Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. I am thinking some sort of Last Tango in Paris meets 9 1/2 weeks action in the dance studio. I wouldn’t have minded seeing Pat beat the crap out of that guy he caught with his wife either.
Scotty – I wish this film did not get away from itself towards the end. The first half of the film you love the honesty and humor from the 2 main characters, that is what made them memorable but towards the end they lost what made them memorable.
Griff - I really enjoyed SLP I don’t think I would change a thing.
Is it worth seeing in the theater? Or could you have waited for the DVD/Stream?
Adam - Well to be hones I was glad that I saw this at home so no one got to see me blubbering out in public. However, if this is still in a theater near you I can’t say not to go see it. In fact as soon as you finish reading this and forwarding it to all your friends head right to the theater.
Scotty – Certainly worth a watch anywhere, great date night movie for those single guys and ladies but to see this at home is no huge mistake.
Griff – I don’t know if you can still catch it in the theater but it’s definitely worth a watch. Don’t be surprised when this one takes home a couple of oscars.
What other movies would you recommend if someone enjoyed this film?
Adam – Hmmm romcoms I did not hate let me see. How about True Romance back when Christian Slater was cool that is a great film. I also recall really liking the grunge ear romcom Singles, as an added bonus the soundtrack kicks ass.
Scotty – Jerry Maguire and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind were two films I thought about while watching the film.
Griff - Whenever I see a RomCom I have to mention the Grand Daddy of all Rom Com’s It Happened One Night (1934), If you have never seen His Girl Friday (1940) it is an absolute must watch. Ok, newer stuff…I actually enjoyed Friend’s with Benefits if you want lighter fare. Some slightly heavier stuff you might want to try 500 Days of Summer, or Garden State.
Any final thoughts on this movie?
Adam – Two things come to mind immediately. The first obviously being that whoever the guy was that invented yoga pants, should get some sort of Nobel Prize. The second being that it was a great decision to make the dance sequences seem approachable. You could almost imagine a normal sort of semi-athletic guy being able to pull off those moves with lots of practice. It would have been real easy to go to far and make Pat (Cooper) turn into some sort of footloose/Fred Astaire type. That would have been a horrible mistake and detracted from the films authenticity. Ummm one last thing, I learned it’s illegal to beat the crap out of someone you catch with your wife? Well at least if you don’t live in Texas or Florida. That should be legal everywhere IMO.
Scotty – I was not blown away by Jennifer Lawrence, I know she is getting critical acclaim for this role but I was not that impressed. I actually thought Cooper was a tiny bit better but I cannot stress enough how important the supporting cast was, they made the movie. This film is certainly worth viewing but do not go in like I did with high expectations, I wish no one had told me anything about the film before I saw it. Overall this film is very good and very enjoyable with decent performances from the leads and great performances from the supporting cast mix that with a great soundtrack and some incredible scenes and you have yourself a good to great movie.
Griff - SLP was one of the best films of the year. It didn’t shock me at all to find out all the main actors were nominated for Oscars. This is probably the finest performance I have seen from Cooper and one of the first times in years De Niro hasn’t mailed it in. This is a testament to Russell’s skill as a director.