Silver Linings Playbook is a great film that seems to have gotten a bit lost in the end of the year parade of good movies. I do think that the awkward name is a deterrent to the casual theatre-goer. What does the title mean? Is this a movie about football? Well, it’s not really about football. It’s about a man, Pat, just released from a mental institution. He has served eight months there because he violently assaulted someone. As a result of his temper, Pat has lost his job, his house, his wife. He returns to the home of his parents, determined to get his life back in order.
His family are rabid Philadelphia Eagles fans (is there another kind of Eagles fan? Don’t think so!) Pat is expected to spend his Sundays at home, watching the game on TV with his father-Pat Sr., played by Robert DeNiro. Pat Sr. has been been permanently banned from the stadium for fighting. While his wife cooks appetizers that no one seems to eat, Pat Sr. obsesses/compulses over everything surrounding football Sundays including, quite comically, the placement of the various remote controls.
While visiting a friend Pat meets Tiffany, a young widow who is also going through a difficult transition. Tiffany agrees to help Pat reach out to his wife in exchange for a favor, and Pat jumps at the chance. Connecting with Tiffany helps Pat to focus on something other than himself, and their growing friendship becomes an important factor in their lives.
It’s great to Jennifer Lawrence really act, without some sort of weapon in her hand. And Bradley Cooper is funny and sensitive and vulnerable. This film is original, funny, and touching. It is definitely worth seeing.