Filmmaker David O. Russell presents a predictable romantic comedy with Silver Linings Playbook. It features a lovable but disturbed individual in the person of Pat, played by Bradley Cooper. He is a high school teacher from Philadelphia who went nuts after being cheated by his English teach wife Nikki.
After some time in a mental institution, Pat is determined to win his wife back via positive mental attitude. During his time inside, he read all the books on his wife’s syllabus. But this is hard to do when his neighbors are still wary about him and a cop following his every move. At home, his obsessive compulsive father (Robert De Niro) wants to watch Philadelphia Eagles games with him.
In order to show Pat’s frame of mind, director Russell keeps the camera super tight on Cooper’s face. The viewers can’t tell where he is or who else is in the room with him. We see that Cooper’s blue eyes are desperate and at times jittery.
Pat gets his match when he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), who is an acquaintance of his wife. She is dealing with her own problems. His husband is a police officer who died in the line of duty. During her grief, she goes from one meaningless sexual encounter to another while she tries to put her life back together. She joins a dance contest and makes a deal with Pat that if he dances with her, she will deliver his letters to Nikki.
The dance contest is a make or break factor for Silver Linings Playbook. Director Russell manages to use this most cliché moment to create interesting relationships between the characters and make it less predictable.
Lawrence is only 22 years old but she manages to play a cynical widow to perfection. She owns each scene she is on and this includes the ones she shares with De Niro.