Pat/ Patrizio Solitano Jr. (Bradley Cooper) is released into the care of his parents after having spent a while at a mental health institution. Although under treatment for Bipolar Disorder, he detests pills and has a hard time dealing with the fact that his wife Nikki has now moved on after an episode when Pat beat up her paramour in fit of rage and he faces a restraining order from her and the school where he used to work.
Ronnie, a friend of Pat's invites him over to his place for dinner, where he meets his sister-in-law Tiffany Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence) who recently lost her husband and has her own share of psychological issues which manifests in the fact that the whole town seems to know for her freewheeling promiscuity. Oddly though, both hit of well over a conversation about the medication they have been on and bond well thereafter.
The best written parts in the story are the conversations between Pat and Tiffany, in what can be described as 'no holds barred'. There's a time when Pat says "I don’t have a filter when I talk", which essentially describes their condition and bonding over the fact that they don't have to pretend with one another, unlike the rest of the society.
And among the most hilarious instances is when Tiffany chases Pat,
he tells her "I'm married" to which she says "So am I",
Pat: "But, your husband is dead", Tiffany: "where's your wife?", Pat: "You're crazy?"
Tiffany "I'm not the one who just got out of that hospital in Baltimore"
The other characters, Pat's parents Patrizio Sr (Robert De Niro) who is probably as 'differently wired' as his son, Pat's mother (Jacki Weaver), his humorous friend from the Baltimore institution Danny (Chris Tucker) and therapist Dr Patel (Anupam Kher) also manage to leave their mark as the film allows these characters to take lives of their own without getting into unnecessary details or sub-plots.
Strong script, Yes! But the film also draws its strength from powerful performances. Bradley cooper is very convincing as the man on recovery mode, taking to fitness. Tiffany as the girl who found a socially unacceptable way to deal with her loss, De Niro as the gambling addict and Anupam Kher, a serious therapist who turns out to be a crazy Eagles fan. Chris Tucker is a great addition to the film despite the small role.
Well, what does the title actually refer to? The silver lining is driven by the strong belief that Pat has in happy endings. His feelings are evident in an animated conversation that Pat has with his parents in the wee hours debating on why in one of Hemingway's books does the story has to end with somebody's death. He is driven by the principle 'Excelsior', the latin word for 'ever upwards' which he keenly lives by.
Some pitfalls in the movie could be that the romance in the story is very predictable and that may not have ended in any other way. Generally, that is true for most romances that thrive on culminating in happy endings. Another is question on whether or not this role of Bradley Cooper is an accurate portrayal of Bipolar Disorder or not. And then the obsession of De Niro's character on betting all his money over superstition.
The verdict: The Oscar nominated movie 'Silver Linings Playbook' is definitely worth a watch for the skilful writing and humor brought out in the oddest of circumstances. While the movie is careful enough not to poke fun of any mental condition, those that have reservations about its portrayal on screen, could better stay away.
Rating 8/10: Deliciously funny script despite being a predictable romance