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Wick's Review

Created Dec 03, 2012 10:38PM PST • Edited Nov 12, 2017 01:04AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Perfect 5.0

    Ladies and gentlemen, behold the Best Movie of the Year, indeed the Great American Movie of 2012. Silver Linings Playbook serves up a perfect stew of current American enthusiasms, including the NFL, psychiatric meds and Dancing with the Stars. Oh yeah, it’s also an ultimate Philly movie. What’s it to ya!

    About the title, sometimes you need a plan to find life’s silver linings. Presto. Silver Linings Playbook.

    It’s not surprising that SLP reaches perfection. David O. Russell has proven a great writer and director time and again. Three Kings with George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg demonstrated uncommon touch. Then The Fighter demonstrated that at least when he works with Wahlberg he’s a formidable filmmaker.

    SLP marks him as a filmmaker who doesn’t need Marky Mark to shine. Bradley Cooper will do just fine, especially with Robert De Niro as his Dad and Jennifer Lawrence as the vixen who has him in her sights.

    Tiffany (Lawrence) wins over Pat (Cooper) by winning over his Dad in a spectacular display of tough talk – Philly style. Jennifer Lawrence shines brightest amongst the big stars – and they shine pretty damn bright. We’re talking the best De Niro role in years, with an insta-classic De Niro rant about breaking a fucking camera over some fucking guy’s head. Not to mention Bradley Cooper’s assured turn as a bipolar guy committed to getting by without meds. Fortunately he’s good with his hands – hammer, fists, etc.

    Oh yeah, Jacki Weaver plays De Niro’s wife and Cooper’s Mom. The pre-Kidman Queen of Australian Actresses plays a perfect Philly Phootball Wife. “Homemades” for every game and everything.

    The movie takes chance after chance, parlay after parlay even, repeatedly pulling the fat from the fire, resolutely funny till the end. Funny but … be prepared for several emotional shots to the solar plexus, more if mental illness has touched your family.

    SLP’s playbook — lots of LOLs making the medicine go down — makes for a movie full of silver linings.

  3. Perfect 5.0

    Jennifer Lawrence has been a Tough Girl since her debut in Winter’s Bone. Now she’s a full grown woman – hot, sexy, assured and … tougher than ever. Wow. Potential exceeded! Her declamations throughout SLP are jaw-dropping insta-classics. Men and women are gonna go gaga over this gal.

    Bradley Cooper plays fucked-up leading man extremely well. His Pat from SLP exceeds even his World’s Worst Groomsman from The Hangover.

    Robert De Niro’s Pat Sr. is a classic latter-day De Niro Dad role. Unlike in the Fockers, he never has to reach, though his character is basically batshit. Rack it. SLP goes directly into the De Niro canon.

    Jacki Weaver as his loyal wife and Pat Jr’s even more loyal Mom holds the whole thing together, as women like her character hold together their own families. Introduced to America in Animal Kingdom, Jac Weaver’s IMDb Filmography includes 50 credits going back to ‘66. She’s that good.

    Then there’s the rich supporting cast.

    • Chris Tucker as an enthusiastic Psych Ward friend. Tucker can still brings the laughs.
    • Anupam Kher as a shrink with a secret life.
    • John Ortiz as a Philly buddy now grown into a man of substance.
    • Julia Stiles as his knockout wife and Jennifer Lawrence’s older sister. You know, the one who’s prettier and much more successful.
    • Shea Whigham as Cooper’s older brother. You know, the one who’s normal and much more successful.
    • Dash Mihok as a straight-up Philly Cop.
    • Matthew Russell as Junior Filmmaker. Matthew Russell? Hmm, wouldn’t be David O. Russell’s son, would it?
    • Brea Bee as Nikki the Beautiful, object of obsession. Yes her name is Brea Bee.
  4. Male Stars Perfect 5.0
  5. Female Stars Perfect 5.0
  6. Female Costars Really Great 4.5
  7. Male Costars Really Great 4.5
  8. Perfect 5.0

    David O. Russell is such a casually powerful director, eschewing fancy filmmaking while excelling with the fundamentals. For instance, his use of powerful closeups capture what’s best about big screen movies. That plus a smidgen of slo-mo creates a fantastic cinematic experience, such as when he shows the upper-deck delirium at an Eagles game, with our messed-up hero Flying Like An Eagle.

  9. Direction Perfect 5.0
  10. Play Really Great 4.5

    The story speaks to the importance of family, no matter how dysfunctional its members are individually and together. For instance, Pat Jr. doesn’t ultimately accept the woman who is obviously made for him till she wins over Pat Sr., whose opinions he’d previously never accepted about most anything.

  11. Music Perfect 5.0

    Stevie Wonder songs should underlay more films.

    • My Cherie Amour could set any guy off, especially after what he saw his wife doing when it was playing. Just saying.
    • Don’t You Worry About a Thing as a dance contest number? Absolutely. Innervisions baby.
  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0
  13. Content
  14. Sordid 2.6

    Lots of bad behavior gets discussed and described, plus the movie shows a bipolar guy acting out his manic phases. While illuminating, this may distress those who’ve been harmed by such behavior.

    Sexually, the movie skewers the Madonna–whore complex in quite entertaining fashion.

  15. Sex Titillating 2.5
  16. Violence Fierce 1.6
  17. Rudeness Nasty 3.7
  18. Glib 1.3

    The credits included two dozen stuntmen and half a dozen medics. Half a dozen medics? Here’s guessing that fight scene in the parking lot of a Philadelphia Eagles’ game was rougher than most shoots.

    Cinematic illusions aside, the movie explores several current substantive realities.

    • Football and sports-betting: Sports is more than entertainment for many. Football especially is a secular religion, often with dire stakes when gambling is involved. Silver Linings Playbook shows this in brilliant fashion through De Niro’s character, who has been banned from Philadelphia Eagles games for fighting, and is both a bookie and a degenerate gambler, something he wants desperately to bond with his son over.
    • Mainstreaming mental illness: Bipolar disease in particular has come largely out of the closet in recent years, thankfully. SLP yanks it all the way out given how acutely it observes Bradley Cooper’s bipolar character. The raft of psychiatric meds that many take today are also grist for the mill of this perceptive comedy.
    • The popularity of dance competitions: Dancing with the Stars isn’t actually in the movie, though it is referenced and a similar competition looms large in the plot. Dancing fans will resonate to the scenes of Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper practicing their routine, complete with the lift that is “the big move.” Where’s Bruno, Len and CarrieAnn when you need them?
  19. Circumstantial Glib 1.8
  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0


Subscribe to Silver Linings Playbook 3 replies, 3 voices
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May 18, 2013 10:20PM

Finally watched this movie, and effin’ A, man. It’s amazing!

Jan 20, 2013 9:06AM

Regarding BrianSez’s Review
Perfect call from a perfect review, Bri. Our votes are registered!

Dec 4, 2012 10:46AM

Regarding Wick’s Review
Wow, a Perfect… Alrighty then, guess I’ll be seeing it soon!