COLUMBIA (WACH) - In these troubling times, it's difficult to ascertain whether we need more or less medication to soothe the savage beast, and now director David O. Russell makes a film that puts some meat behind the phrase "take a chill pill".
Bradley Cooper plays Pat Solatano, a 30-something who's just returning home from an eight month stint in a state institution stemming from a plea bargain after a breakup meltdown got him in trouble. He's still on a cocktail of some pretty heavy meds and wants to get his life back on track. He's also hell bent on getting back together with the wife. While he works on his recovery, he's staying with his parents Pat, Sr (Robert DeNiro) and Delores (Jackie Weaver) who are thrilled to have him home, and only marginally bothered by his emotional outbursts. DeNiro has some outstanding moments relating to his son as he vascillates between walking on eggshells and wallowing in his superstitions surrounding his favorite team and family obsession, the Philadelphia Eagles.
Enter Jennifer Lawrence as Tiffany, a girl with her own set of problems and her own set of coping mechanisims. They meet at a dinner party thrown by Julia Stiles and bond over medications they have in common, offering some of the best laugh-out-loud lines in the film. Tiffany uses dance and excercise as an antidote to her feelings of self loathing, along with a little male attention to keep her ego from flatlining. Meanwhile, Pat is not interested in her because he's still focused on winning back his wife, so Tiffany uses her accessability to said wife as leverage to convince Pat to be her partner in a dance competition. Tiffany doesn't really want to aid in their reconcilliation, and Pat doesn't really want to be in a ballroom dance contest... and such is life.
With Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher and Shea Whigham rounding out the ensemble cast, Silver Linings Playbook is a study on love, pain, and rolling with the punches. Each of us has a cross to bear, and it's how we choose to view and respond to adversity that will determine whether we thrive or barely survive this experience we call life.