David O. Russel is back after his boxing movie The Fighter got seven nominations (plus wins for Christian Bale and Melissa Leo) his newest drama Silver Linings (Playbook) is up for a staggering 8 nominations boasting one in each acting category, screenplay, editing, directing and of course best picture.
Bradley Cooper plays Patrizio who is suffering from a vague bipolar disorder and tries to continue his life after staying eight months in intensive psychiatric treatment. This means a lot of work for his parents Dolores (Jacki Weaver) and Patrizio Senior (Robert De Niro). Especially since Patrizio Sen. is also wrestling with his (undiagnosed) compulsive gambling.
Aren’t we all a bit crazy?
Very early the movie’s message arisesin form of obvious question for the audience
Where do psychological disorders begin?
Who is normal?
Why is it that ‘sane’ people can act crazier than those in the psychiatric ward?
All this is heightened when a romance between Patrizio and Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) – recent widow, nymphomaniac and overall neurotic wreck. The movie even treads very standard territory in having Patrizio and Tiffany train for a talent show and simultaneously having Patrizio Sen. looking forward to a certain game – do you think there is any chance that those two storylines might get in each other’s way?
But very similar to The Fighter the movie has a charm to it that makes you forget (or at least tolerate) the standard structure and just enjoy the ride. The performances are solid all the way through yet comparison with The Fighter shines a spotlight on the fact that latter movie was carried by the outstanding performance of Christian Bale where here one is left with performances ranging “just” from good to very good.
The best way to enjoy the film is to see it as a nice evening diversion. It is very entertaining and well-acted yet one is left to wonder if there is any other reason for De Niro’s nomination other than the fact that he has finally returned to serious acting instead of staring in New Year’s Eve or Meet the Fockers.
But those nitpicks are judging the backstory of the movie and not the movie itself. So give Silver Linings (Playbook) a try, enjoy the ride and try not to compare it too much with other Oscar-movies – it is too entertaining to be torn apart or looked down upon.