Silver Linings Playbook

Saturday June 8th at 8pm

 

2012, USA 122 minutes, 15 certificate, Directed by David O Russell  
Starring Bradley Cooper Jennifer Lawrence, Robert de Niro

 

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings PlaybookSilver Linings Playbook has a suitably upbeat title and several of the key ingredients for a standard Hollywood “feelgood movie” – an oddball hero returning home to make peace with his family, an encounter with a kookie girl whom he ends up chasing through the festive, snow-flecked streets at Christmas, a couple of public contests (a dance and a football game) on the results of which the future depends. And indeed the movie does make you feel quite good about humanity as the final credits roll.

But this is aDavid O Russell film, his sixth since 1994, and for him feeling good is the reward for completing an emotional assault course.

Patrick Solitano Jr’s hero is returning from a mental hospital with a diagnosis of bipolar and a “challenging” past. Dance teacher, Jennifer Lawrence , in a wonderful performance filled with pathos, reunites with him over an hilarious dinner and discussion of shared medications. Couple this with father ,Robert De Niro, running an illegal bookmaking business in the family home and the excellent Jackie Weaver as his mother and you might expect a very quirky comedy. But the film is also a darker and more disturbing exploration of the pain and anxiety of mental illness and family conflict which we become drawn into, and empathise with, in an unpatronising fashion. A hugely enjoyable film.