Silver Linings Playbook
How interesting that a director who’s taken considerable heat for certain issues around personal interaction should hit a creative peak with a film about the roots of shoddy behaviour, and the potential for its forgiveness. Might this be a case of someone actually learning from a mistake? Growing up in public, even? Or is that a monumental assumption based on internet hearsay… ?
David O Russell was hotly tipped from his breakthrough Spanking the Monkey in 1994, showed the extent of his talent with the brilliant Three Kings in 1999, and scored a hit and a raft of Oscar nominations for The Fighter in 2010 – but his reputation suffered through rumours (and recorded evidence) that he was horrible on-set. His actors, incidentally, defended him, but Hollywood mud can be helluva sticky. Villain or victim, what Russell’s been through hasn’t hurt his art, and might on this evidence have been the making of him.
This tender, quirky tale also gives Bradley Cooper the opportunity to be more than twinkly beefcake, and finds hitherto unglimpsed playfulness in that frosty action fox Jennifer Lawrence. Oh, and some guy called De Niro acquits himself OK, too … Cooper plays Patrick, just out of a mental health facility and struggling to balance his determination to be medication-free with his advanced sensitivity and excitability. Most of all, he wants to win back the wife whose infidelity triggered his breakdown in the first place – and for Jennifer Lawrence’s similarly damaged young widow to leave him be … The film is somewhat prone to those off-the-cuff deep-and-meaningful revelations that come so much more readily in US indie flicks than in, you know, life; but it manages to positively bleed compassion while remaining light, sexy, dynamic and thought-provoking.
General release from Wed 21 Nov.