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Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

silver linings playbook movie poster

After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.

project de niro

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I have sold out and gone all mainstream in a bid to attract the Oscar crowd. And you may be right. BUT this movie fits my code, in that whilst it’s not a horror film or in the IMDB Top 250 (or the version I used from last year, it will be a mainstay in the real 250 for a long time I imagine), it does fit nicely into my Project: De Niro, where I attempt to watch all the great mans movies. The fact that the Oscars are happening tonight is just a HUGE coincidence. Kind of. Anyway, moving on.

Whilst I’m a little late to the party with this movie (for reasons above) I have finally got round to watching it. I’ll be totally honest, if it wasn’t for all the good press my idol De Niro is getting for his role, I probably wouldn’t have watched this. And boy would I have missed out. Silver Linings Playbook is excellent, and for a man who normally only enjoys films with a high death count, this was just such a treat to watch.

It doesn’t start in a happy place. We meet Pat (Bradley Cooper), a former teacher who has been confined to a mental heath clinic after almost beating the lover of his wife to death. Against doctor’s orders he’s been signed out by his mother (Jacki Weaver) and escorted through the suburbs of Philadelphia to see how he copes with being back in the family nest.

silver linings running

Once back at home he is full of positive energy and goes running every day, reading more than ever, but it’s all a front. He’s becoming increasingly obsessed and delusional, convinced that his marriage is still fine and he can still win his wife back. He just so happens to meet the similarly damaged Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) who is still trying to cope after the death of her husband. The interaction and chemistry between these two characters is superb, and it was just a joy to watch them working together. The majority of the movie then shows the pair learning to dance, for lots of reasons, but ultimately because Pat thinks this will help him win back his wife. Tiffany has different motives though.

silver linings date

I may be biased, but the highlight of the film is anytime Pat Snr (Robert De Niro) is on-screen. He is a bookmaker and superstitious sports nut who wants to reconnect with his son through a shared love of the Philadelphia Eagles. Again, De Niro and Cooper just worked so well together, and the fight scene between the two is emotional but funny at the same time.

silver linings pat and pat snr

Rounded out with a great support cast, with people like Pat’s older brother (Shea Whigham, who I loved in Splinter), his friend from hospital who loves to break out (Chris Tucker) and as a nice surprise for me as a Sopranos fan, Pat Snr’s bookmaker friend Randy (Paul Herman – or Beansie!). There were no weak links, and just perfect casting all round.

jennifer lawrence and bradley cooper

De Niro here reminded me so much of his Gil Renard character in The Fan. Just absolutely obsessed with his team, and full of quirks and OCD tendencies in the hope of giving his team the luck to win. It is so good to see him give this kind of performance. A lot of younger film lovers only know De Niro as the guy from Meet The Parents or stuff like that, but to me he is the hero that gave that the cinema loving world so many incredible characters like Travis Bickle and the young Vito Corleone. Seeing him act with this passion and intensity was inspiring and I’m not going to lie, I got a little emotional when I saw he was nominated for the Oscar for his performance here. I know he won’t win, but it’s nice just to see him getting some recognition.

de niro pat snr

Silver Linings Playbook is all about the relationship between Cooper and Lawrence though. I have been a big fan of Bradley Cooper for a long time. He was hilarious as the asshole in Wedding Crashers, and superb in the little known horror Midnight Meat Train. He is finally getting lead roles thanks to his Hangover movies, but here he gives easily the best performance of his career so far. Playing a character with Bipolar, he goes through all the emotions and his brutal honesty is refreshing and gives the film so much humour.

cooper and tucker

Opposite him is rising star Jennifer Lawrence. I can’t think of anyone who is not only as beautiful as she is but so watchable, and her performance has been critically adored. I can’t wait to see her roles in the future, and being so young, the world is surely at her feet. Like Cooper, she plays a damaged character but offers enough humour to still like her even when she does some questionable things. Have I mentioned she is beautiful? What a great messed up screen couple these two make, and watching them together was just so much fun. Especially her scene storming into Pats house and setting Pat Snr straight on a few things. Then drinking a beer. What a girl!

Jennifer Lawrence Silver Linings Playbook

I try and steer clear of technical things in my reviews. Mainly because I don’t have the technical gift or knowledge other bloggers have when it comes to using fancy words and describing a films look or the directors background and styles. Tarantino and Scorsese aside, I don’t know what styles to look out for or notice. I’m just a guy who likes movies, and I try and offer up my thoughts without spoiling anything. That is why I can’t go into detail on how this work fits in with the director David O. Russell’s previous work and style like I’ve seen a lot of people do. I will say the film looked beautiful, and the script which was adapted from a book I believe, gave me so many funny moments which I really wasn’t expecting. The soundtrack is also fantastic! The film isn’t all sunshine though, there are obviously some serious undertones to it, but it highlights the craziness in a good way and shows how positive and energizing it can be.

silver linings dancing gif

Whilst I certainly won’t spoil anything, the only complaint I’ve seen people use for Silver Linings was the ending. For me, it ended perfectly and the only way I wanted it to. Pat even reads out the ending 15 minutes into the film, and his reaction on how certain tales should end shows us viewers how this story will play out. I have no complaints about the movie at all, and can’t wait to watch it again. And whilst an 8 might not seem high, it’s a high 8 out of 10. More like an 8.9 out of 10. But Casino is a 9, and this isn’t quite at that level. In my score system anyway! I hope this does well at tonight’s awards, and you will hear the biggest cheer from my house if Bobby springs a surprise and picks up a statue!

8 stars

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89 Comments

  1. Great review Tyson. I liked this movie a lot, but still unsure about if it really does deserve all of the Oscar love it’s getting. Acting, sure, but Best Picture, I don’t think so. Jackie Weaver’s nomination is disgusting as well…. So wrong.

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    • Thanks Nick. I KNOW Bobby D is nominated, and I vaguely recall Cooper & Lawrence being up there, and I agree with those 3 for sure. I had NO idea Weaver was nominated, was she really? I loved Animal Kingdom and pretty sure she was nominated for that too (did she win? I dont recall), which I found weird. Little shocked, she was barely in this.

      Ah well. Cheers buddy 🙂

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  2. Glad you enjoyed it even though it’s outside of your usual comfort zone, lol. I completely agree that the ending was totally okay for me, and that Pat’s complaints about crappy endings at the beginning of the movie make it fit in perfectly.

    Great review 🙂

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    • Yeah its nice to try new things!! And this worked, you know, and I really did enjoy it. Glad you liked it and the ending! Cheers buddy 🙂

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  3. Ha! I told you we’d disagree on this one! But what’s interesting is, we both liked how it ended…and I was unaware that so many people DIDN’T like how it ended! For me, that was the best part, by far! Oh well…I’ll just skulk back to my desk and continue writing my sad little reviews.

    Oh yeah, one more thing: would you have given the film that high of a rating if, say, Abe Vigoda had played the part of Tiffany, instead of Jennifer Lawrence?

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    • I know, I mean I kind of hoped I would enjoy it, but I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did! I’m normally the one to disagree with the norm, for instance my strong dislike for Jessica Chastain in ZDT 🙂

      Of course, whoever played that role, definitely! 😉 Nah, I mean besides the fact that I am slightly obsessed with her, she was phenomenal here. There aren’t many actresses around in my opinion that could have done this role as well. I actually cant think of any!!

      Cheers anyway Todd 🙂

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  4. Nice review, did you notice, when they’re walking past the movie theater, Midnight Meat Train is the advertised movie?

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  5. Carly

     /  February 24, 2013

    Great review. I went into this film not knowing much about the plot and to be honest it was Bradley Cooper that drawed me in. I Ioved the way the characters interacted. It was great to see De Niro back to his best and the way he and Bradley work on screen. They obviously have a great working relationship.
    Jennifer Lawrence impressed me in this the best scene in the film for me was when she showed up at Pats parents and put De Niro in his place. I look forward to watching this again hopefully without my hubby who spent a lot of time drooling over Jennifer.

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  6. Finally, a good turn from De Niro. I was almost losing hope of this great actor taking on a role worthy of his immense talent, its been so long.
    I’ve struggled with myself in deciding if Cooper merely gets away with it here or is perfectly on key. I’m still undecided.
    It’s a little erratic at times, but Silver Linings Playbook is a decent collaboration.

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    • It has been too long for De Niro. Finally he had a role he could get into, and it showed. What a performance!

      I obviously think Cooper nails the role here. Glad you kind of liked it! Cheers buddy 🙂

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  7. Wordschat

     /  February 24, 2013

    I risk a stake for dissing DeNiro and the film. You all know how I feel about this movie. Glad my blogger pals like: it and respect from my review how much myself and a handful of others hated it. Oscar cheers and Argo F yourselves…. kidding.

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  8. Fantastic review sir! So glad to hear you sing it’s praises. I wasn’t sure if you’d like it or not but I knew you’d love the great Bob. He’s absolutely brilliant isn’t he? I’m really hoping he pulls off a shock tonight at the oscars. I may hear a big cheer from your household if he does win but that cheer will most likely be drowned out by my own ecstatic bellowing. 😉

    By the way, I love your little “Project: DeNiro” banner. That’s the first I’ve seen that. Superb bro!

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    • Cheers Mark. Yeah, I was surprised myself. As you say, I couldnt wait to see Bobby but even he exceeded my hopes. Just a great all round movie. So you staying up all morning to watch too! Nice 😛

      Thanks, yeah just messing with the banner, just makes it a little easier to differentiate! Cheers buddy 🙂

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      • Going to my bed just now. I’ll set an alarm for 1:30 and see if I’m able to get up again. Might be a bad idea as my two young ‘ins will jumping over my head first thing in the morning. I really want to see it though. If I’m up, I’ll be sure to drop you a little tweet. Good luck to Bob! Team Bobby! 😉

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    • I dont know why Im staying up really, having hardly seen any films featured. I love Seth though and think he will be funny host, and I want Jennifer and Bobby to win. #TEAMBOBBY!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

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  9. theipc

     /  February 24, 2013

    Great write up – not to dog anything, but I have been pissed with the Oscars ever since Saving Private Ryan didn’t win Best Picture. We still watch them religiously every year but the movies up for Best Picture I rarely see (because they are never my type of film). The wife and I did watch Argo the other night and that was pretty fucking good – so I hope it wins.

    Two observations (at this point in time) from the Oscar intros show – Daniel Radcliffe has ENORMOUS eyebrows and Jessica Chastain is HOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!

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    • I never really watch them (as they are on a subscription channel) but we have said channel this year, so my wife is subjecting me to all the red carpet shit. She loves your observations!!

      Thanks buddy, and having just seen Jennifer Lawrence, she will definitely one day be mine. Just a matter of time…… 🙂

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  10. I really like your review! I hope Silver Linings Playbook wins the Best Picture tonight! 🙂

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  11. Wow this actually sounds okay. Unbalanced minds, sports nuts and running are all up my alley-movies about relationships and lots of talking not so much, but maybe I’ll give it a shot.

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    • The talking here is funny most of the time. Lots of inappropriate comments! Really hope you like it, I was very pleasantly surprised 🙂

      Cheers 😛

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  12. What??!?!? You watched a film with an American Football theme? Have you been finally transformed? Have you seen the light? Lol.

    Great review buddy! It’s a great film and I hope Jennifer Lawrence wins best actress.

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    • Haha, yeah luckily it didnt show any of the stupid game though! 😛

      Thanks mate, I’ll tell her you are sending her your best wishes. Cheers 😉

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  13. Mithil

     /  February 25, 2013

    Almost cracked up when De niro storms into his neighbours house to tell the kid how he will take his interview. loved it. right there

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  14. Absolutely loved this film. Big fan of Cooper since forever, but newly-crowned Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence really surprised me. And you’re right – she looks beautiful. I think she should stay as a brunette.

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    • Good to hear buddy. I was surprised by everything, and although I heard a lot of good stuff before I saw it, I wasnt disappointed! As long as Jennifer doesnt shave her head I dont mind what colour she goes! So happy she won 🙂

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  15. Enjoyed the film.

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  16. Solid review Tyson. It’s just a movie that made me so happy to be alive and be able to feel emotions, like a real human should. One of my favorites from last year and great job on Lawrence’s part.

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  17. Looks great! I haven’t had the chance to see it yet, but after reading your review I will! I know the casting place that I follow on FB had been talking about this for a long time before it was released. I get a heads up on films being shot in Philadelphia (it’s only 10 minutes from my house) by the constant need for casting of extras for movies. I remember, traffic is always redirected when films are shot here which people in Philly are quite use to. Great review!

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    • Cool, have you ever managed to get in as an extra? Hope you get to see the movie, well worth your time. Thanks for the kind words and stopping by! Always appreciated 🙂

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      • When the second installment of Transformers was being filmed in Philly, they had a cattle call and the line to be “chosen” was terrifying. It was basically by physical appearance of “college aged” people they wanted. Luckily, they liked me and I was measured and fitted for a “costume”. I had my picture taken and fussed over. Unfortunately, due to other matters at that time, I wasn’t able to make it to the shoot. I was so disappointed. I’ll try once again. When I do become an extra, you’ll be the first to know!!

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        • Thats a shame you couldnt make it!! At least they liked you though, so next time no excuses and get in that film lol. Good luck 🙂

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  18. Glad you liked the film, I agree with the end being good, some people just like misery we like happy endings 😀

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  19. Love that gif at the end there. LOL

    This was a really good movie, and I think an 8 out of ten might be warranted, especially if you dont give half stars. It got a little over hyped due to all the Oscar love it got, but at the end of the day, justice was served. Jennifer Lawrence won (as she deserved to) and no one else did.

    Good review Tyson!

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    • Yeah I took a bit of stick from the wife for the gif, any excuse to see Jennifer dancing though 😉

      It did get a lot of hype, which is kind of why I waited so long to watch it, so I could just forget about what I read and enjoy it. And it was better than I thought it would be. Jennifer did deserve it, and whilst I know what you mean about De Niro not deserving it in comparison, I hoped he would win as the academy tend to give them to the ‘older’ people if they feel they have been overlooked…….Scorsese & The Departed for example…..but it was just great seeing De Niro put in a great performance! Cheers Fogs 🙂

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  20. I’m just here for the Jennifer Lawrence gif.

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  21. Garry Armstrong

     /  February 25, 2013

    Haven’t seen”Silver Linings” yet but it sounds like one of those “emotion tuggers” from yesteryear Hollywood. What did you (and the rest of you fellow Movie Mavens out there) think of the Oscars show?

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    • I tried to stay awake for the show, but after about an hour I gave up. Haven’t seen many of the films nominated so I didn’t have the interest really. What did you think about it? 🙂

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  22. Abbi

     /  February 25, 2013

    I still haven’t seen this and I really feel like I’ve missed out!

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  23. Awesome review Tyson!! Glad you enjoyed the film. I tell you the performances are fantastic all around, De Niro’s quirks are such a hoot, but there are also some heart-wrenching emotional moments that made me tear up. To me, the star here is Lawrence, hence her Oscar-win is well-deserved!

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    • Definitely some heart wrenching moments, fine acting made them feel so real. So happy Jennifer won, her performance was astounding.

      Thank you Ruth!! 🙂

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  24. Haha hey,you’re watching something not so violent! 😉

    I loooove this movie, it’s my third favourite of the year. Now I can hardly wait to watch it again.

    It’s great that Midnight Meat Train gets advertised outside the movie theater. I was thinking… Hey, don’t Bradley Cooper and Vinnie Jones star in that one?…

    Nice review 😀

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  25. This was an excellent review of a wonderful movie.

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  26. No win for De Niro, but this film certainly seemed to have been well-received as a whole, and Lawrence took home a statue. It’s funny, this seemed very much like a “not my kind of movie” situation to me, but everyone seems to love it. I might have to check it out after all.

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    • Just great seeing him embrace a role like this ultimately. Everyone is on top form, and despite it not being my usual kind of watch, I’m really glad I saw this. Hope you like it if you give it a chance Morgan! Cheers 🙂

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  27. I’ve been a lot keener on seeing this over the past few weeks, actually. I saw a small clip of Cooper in the mental hospital, and I think that’s what sold me. It’s a scene where he admits something was a delusion.

    Kudos on the gif. I only came here to see that.

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  28. Great review mate. I thought SLP was brilliant, a real surprise for me. I thought every performance was great, even Jackie Weaver played it brilliantly understated. So good to see De Niro finally have a decent role again, let’s hope he gets a few more from now on. As for the ending, it was a little conventional but I think the film completely earned how it ended, I didn’t really have too many complaints with it.
    And I see you’re now part of the Jennifer Lawrence fan club. Welcome, my friend, it’s a wonderful place!

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    • Thanks buddy. I have big hopes for De Niro’s film with Scorsese. Hell, even the boxing with Stallone looks pretty good!!

      I am the leader of her fan club now. As she is my future wife you need to find someone else! LOL 😛

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      • I’m afraid you’re too late to the party my friend, she’s mine and I shall fight to the death for her!

        She gave me this message for you…

        🙂

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        • LOL!! 🙂

          Oh, you just wait, in half an hour or so when my new post goes up, you will see her reaction to me really!

          Funnily enough, when I posted this review, Jennifer Lawrence retweeted me and sent me a message! Honestly I ran to my wife to tell her I was leaving, then I saw it was a fan twitter account…..gutted 🙂

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        • Haha I feel your pain, i’d have been equally as disappointed! Maybe your wife isn’t the best person to run to shrieking about Jennifer Lawrence though!

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        • Yeah the gloating didnt work out that well. Luckily she just tells me to get out of a dreamland and go wash up. Back to reality 🙂

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  29. I really need to see this once it comes out on DVD. Nice review.

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  30. Great review, man! One of my favorite movies of 2012. Great performances and writing!

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  31. Great Review Tyson and very honest. I really enjoyed ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ and while I left there were a few minor niggles here and there, with regards to characters not being fully fleshed out and the films unnecessary nose dive into over sentimental cliché, I do think all these things can be forgiven thanks to the outstanding performances and the well written script.

    Here is my review if you get time. http://www.moviereviewworld.com/movie-review/silver-linings-playbook/

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  32. I have watched this film and what you said was fitting to the movie. I like this movie simply because of its story and mix of characters.

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    • The characters are a great mix, just so well set up. Been a while since I last watched it, your comment has made me want to re-visit it. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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