Silver Linings Playbook [Blu-Ray]

David O. Russell

BY Scott A. GrayPublished May 9, 2013

David O. Russell's second Oscar magnet in a row tackles the marginalizing stigma of personality disorders, in the form of a dramatic family comedy. The once edgy director of Three Kings and I Heart Huckabees is now firmly in the crowd-pleasing phase of his career and, following The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook cements his new status as a reliable purveyor of witty, well-made, well-acted formulaic studio flicks. Based on Matthew Quick's novel of the same name, this mildly quirky ensemble piece follows Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper, eager to prove himself) as he attempts to reintegrate with his community after spending eight months in a state mental institution. With the patience and loving support of his agreeable-to-the-point-of-insanity mother (the fantastic Jacki Weaver) and his obsessive-compulsive, highly superstitious father (Robert DeNiro, in his second best performance of 2012, after Being Flynn), Pat tries to ritualize having a positive outlook by seeking a "silver lining" in every disappointment. One of those silver linings turns out to be a friendship with the unrepentant town "slut," Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence, who's great, but not exactly better than Emanuella Riva in Amour great). She's been driven to promiscuity by despair and apparently just needs a cute guy as crazy as she is to make an honest woman out of her again. It's standard rom-com stuff — Pat is convinced he's going to reunite with his wife and doesn't notice the sassy dish he's got oodles of chemistry with writhing right under his nose — but Russell pushes his actors to squeeze out every last drop of passion and energy in front of the camera, so it's really damn good standard rom-com stuff. What I never would have guessed is that this would turn out to be an immensely empowering movie for the bi-polar community. According to "The Movie that Became a Movement," it absolutely is. In this extremely self-congratulatory behind-the-scenes feature and in a Q&A session that's also included, Russell emphasises his personal connection to the material — his son suffers from similar emotional instabilities — and a parade of psychiatrists and representatives from the Center for American Progress show up to celebrate the positive manner in which the director depicts mental illness. Of the cast and crew interviewed, Jennifer Lawrence and Danny Elfman (working well outside of his comfort zone for the sparse, sweet score) come across as the most thoughtful — the majority of the participants just regurgitate stock niceties. A rather insignificant collection of deleted scenes are included, as well as rehearsal footage of Cooper and Lawrence strutting their stuff, an instructional video with the dance choreographer and a random bit of footage of Cooper playing with a steadicam.

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