When you’re a kid you’re taught the saying, “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, before spending your whole life ignoring it to varying degrees, but if there’s a DVD release in recent years that can’t be gauged by its front cover it’s Silver Linings Playbook. Starring Bradley Cooper (Limitless) and Jennifer Lawrence (AKA Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games), it’s a long way from the standard rom-com that the image on the front makes it appear to be.
Adapted from the novel, The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, it has gone on to receive eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. Lawrence won the Academy Award for Best Actress, as well the Golden Globe for the same category.
It centres around Pat (Cooper) as he reacquaints himself with his former life having been let out of a mental health facility that he’d been sent to for beating his cheating wife’s balding teacher lover half to death in the shower. When he’s introduced to Tiffany (Lawrence), who’s also high up on the mental health medication chart, by his friend Ronnie (John Ortiz), it’s not exactly love at first sight despite her telling Pat that he can sleep with her if they keep the lights off.
With Pat’s bipolar reactions to life and single motivation of getting back with his wife Nikki (Brea Bee) he’s got a lot on his plate, but with Tiffany’s own mental health issues as a result of her husband’s death and single motivation to enter a dance contest, they’re paths are inevitably crossed with twisted wires. Add to that Pat’s Dad, Patrizio (played by Robert De Niro, Little Fockers), and his back door bookie business, the rocky marriage between Ronnie and his wife Veronica (Julia Stiles), and the occasional appearance of Pat’s friend Danny (Chris Tucker) who repeatedly attempts to break out the mental health facility, and you’ve got one crazy love film on your hands.
Cooper and De Niro both get into playing their characters well, building on their previous work together on Limitless, and Jennifer Lawrence’s Maxine is worlds apart from her role as Katniss in The Hunger Games, confirming her ability to take on different characters. Julia Styles, Chris Tucker and Jacki Weaver, who plays Pat’s mum Delores, all contribute to making the left-field rom-com believable.
Though it’s not a tradition romantic comedy it still maintains the key elements that make up a Hollywood love film. The first meeting and walk alone together, the ‘will they won’t they’ build up and the big climax ending are all in place to give the film a little magic along with the darker reality of the situations. It’s added to by the traditional music and dancing that’s reminiscent of 50s and 60s classics.
The Silver Linings Playbook DVD is a fun and thoughtful comedy drama that will be a surprise if you watch it based on its cover shot alone. It portrays mental health issues with good reflection, while also bringing in elements of the romantic into the mix. With the inspirational message of going after a silver lining and the cooky delivery from director, David O. Russell (I ♥ Huckerbees), it’s the kind of DVD that you can whip out after a tough week to get a little shot of direction.
Silver Linings Playbook DVD review: 4.2/5