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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12
Cast
Bradley Cooper
Jennifer Lawrence
Chris Tucker.
Directors
David O Russell.
Screenwriters
David O Russell.
Running Time
138 minutes

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Silver Linings Playbook
Crazy brutal love


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Plot
Having spent eight months in psychiatric care for assaulting his wife’s lover, ex-teacher Pat (Cooper) is released into the care of his parents. Pat still believes his marriage can be saved, which he hopes to achieve with the aid of his equally damaged new friend, Tiffany (Lawrence).


Review
Silver Linings Playbook
David O. Russell's career has had a ragged trajectory. In the last 18 years, he epitomised edgy indie with his debut Spanking The Monkey, made one of the smartest, slickest Hollywood movies in recent history with 1999’s Three Kings, and then almost blew that cred with 2004’s bizarre, scrappy I ♥ Huckabees. His 2011 Oscar nod for The Fighter suggested he was back on course — but what of his strange black comedy Nailed, about a waitress with a nail lodged in her head, which has been in legal limbo since 2008?

Of all those films, Silver Linings Playbook is most recognisably the work of the man who made The Fighter, although it takes place in a slightly better part of town. Once again, we have a blue-collar underdog story, but this one is harder to get to grips with, since Bradley Cooper’s Pat isn’t quite as easy to root for as Mark Wahlberg’s Micky Ward. He’s sweet, yes, and charmingly optimistic (which gives rise to the film’s never-really-explained title), but he’s also bipolar and brutal (as we see in a flashback to the film’s catalytic moment), and there is also the not-so-small issue of a restraining order.

Cooper works well with what he’s given, but films about mental illness are always a tough call, and his somewhat single-note performance — since Pat is mostly motivated by the need to get back with his largely off-screen wife — doesn’t quite give us what we need to root for him. Jennifer Lawrence, though, is a far surer bet as the promiscuous, pill-popping Tiffany: old beyond her years (the 15-year age gap is barely noticeable), with a strangely sane take on her own bespoke madness. This is a big demonstration of Lawrence’s skillset, as those brought in by her post-Hunger Games fame will certainly see.

Reviews and audience awards from North American festival screenings have given Silver Linings Playbook an early head of awards-season steam, but it remains to be seen how the film plays with the general public, especially in Europe, where the casual references to American football will prove unintentionally bewildering. The mix of comedy and pathos is tonally awkward at times, too, like the odd ‘reveal’ that Pat’s father (a muted, not-too-disastrous performance by Robert De Niro) is OCD. But Lawrence continues to mature and surprise as a leading lady, and if it doesn’t go the full distance at the Oscars, this will definitely be the movie to prove that Winter’s Bone was merely the start of it.


Verdict
Jennifer Lawrence is the standout in a tonally uneven, eccentric romantic dramedy that fuses The Fisher King with Romy And Michele’s High School Reunion.


Reviewed by Damon Wise

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Silver Linings Playbook
Empire Star Rating

3 stars? An interesting rating, but I think it deserves five, in my personal opinion. I truly enjoyed Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in this brilliant film, which excelled in every way. A top-notch piece of film-making! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by livapr99 at 21:02, 23 January 2014 | Report This Post


One of my favourite movies ever!

This is a great movie. Never considered myself to be a big David O Russell fan though I respect him hugely as a director. The performances from Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are breathtaking. Cooper finally showcasing his acting chops (which I always knew he had there hidden somewhere). Jennifer Lawrence once again proves why her star continues to rise – she’s a very talented actress, completely different in every role she takes on. This gal is far removed from that of Kat... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by WicciAyla at 21:37, 05 September 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Silver Linings Playbook

Great movie. Funny. Sweet. Quirky romance. ... More

Posted by moviebuff73 at 10:14, 06 May 2013 | Report This Post


Ridiculous criticisms

This movie is one of the best American films of the last decade. As for the constant criticisms about how the sporting reference won't be understood by us Brits - "what is this sport they talk of?!?!" like American Football is completely alien??? how thick do they think we are? madness. This is film is lovely. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tysmuse at 23:12, 08 April 2013 | Report This Post


RE: [Repost - Please Delete]

I swear, I agree with Empire about 5% of the time. This is a five-star film and much better than Argo. ... More

Posted by theoriginalcynic at 19:48, 03 April 2013 | Report This Post


[Repost - Please Delete]

... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Conboy at 02:39, 19 March 2013 | Report This Post


(Reviewed by Sean Conroy)

The writing is rapid fire and it positions the characters with mental health issues as the truth sayers. David O’Russell’s latest film is a tribute to his own son who has been diagnosed with bi-polar. He has gathered a terrific ensemble to bring his words to life. Based on the novel by Mathew Quick the story centres on Pat (Cooper) freshly released from a psychiatric institution into the care of his parents. He had undiagnosed bipolar prior to beating his wife’s lover in an act of rage. H... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Conboy at 02:32, 19 March 2013 | Report This Post


(Reviewed by Sean Conroy)

The writing is rapid fire and it positions the characters with mental health issues as the truth sayers. David O’Russell’s latest film is a tribute to his own son who has been diagnosed with bi-polar. He has gathered a terrific ensemble to bring his words to life. Based on the novel by Mathew Quick the story centres on Pat (Cooper) freshly released from a psychiatric institution into the care of his parents. He had undiagnosed bipolar prior to beating his wife’s lover in an act of rage. H... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Conboy at 02:31, 19 March 2013 | Report This Post


A triumph

From the honest writing, the superb directing and performances this is a great offering from Russell and a career defining moment for Cooper! Edit - please don't advertise your blog etc in posts ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jakesfake at 13:31, 04 March 2013 | Report This Post


tp://www.imdb.com/title/tt1045658/?ref_=sr_1]Silver Linings Playbook pretty solid drama film in wich pretty boy Bradley Cooper finally shows that he cán truly act. The story itself isn`t anything special though and is (as is common in these kinda films) a pile of cliché`s and predictability. Therefor it`s a question why on earth this has been nominated for the Best Picture and Best Direction Oscars. Luckily we still have Jennifer Lawrence... /b] ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheGodfather at 21:46, 22 February 2013 | Report This Post


Every Silver Lining has a cloud

I found this film to be quite nasty. Horrible people saying mean things to each other. I'm not being prudish and I fully understand that this film is dealing with mental health problems, but these characters are exaggerated and unconvincing. He's 'undiagnosed Bi-Polar' which, in his case, means he speaks his mind and throws tantrums; she's a widow who's using sex as a coping mechanism perhaps brought on by guilt relating to the lack of 'action' with her late husband. And Daddy De Niro? We... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bad_dancer at 16:20, 14 February 2013 | Report This Post


MAYBE THERE WEREN'T ENOUGH FART JOKES OR EXPLOSIONS FOR THIS REVIEWER

Evidently, dark humor laced with a charmingly idealized depiction of flawed human beings doing the best they can to find a little happiness in their troubled lives was not this reviewers cup of tea. However, this is one of the best movies I've seen in decades. And David O. Russell deserves the credit for getting uniquely nuanced performances from well known actors. Bradley Cooper was a real surprise. Robert DeNiro nearly steals the movie. Jennifer Lawrence will win her first Oscar. Chris ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by osage1948 at 01:58, 01 February 2013 | Report This Post


Bullshit Review

I watched this film last night & absolutely loved it, great performances from DeNiro, Laurence & Cooper, How the hell Empire came up with a 3 star review is bewildering, They were way off the mark with 'Safety not guaranteed' also, The fact im not usually a fan of Romantic comedies is testament to this movies heart, watch it & ignore the review ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jaysonski at 21:26, 22 January 2013 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

Loved it, great story which had you on the edge, magic acting outstanding cast that reached new heights, in fairness I didn't think Bradley cooper had this in him, all I can say is take a bow, brilliant, well done, Lawrence is a revelation, she is a class act, de Niro is immense as is all the cast. Brilliant pacing as someone said. Really enjoyed. 4.5 stars for me. ... More

Posted by sligonian at 15:31, 16 January 2013 | Report This Post


RE:

I know a review is subjective but i'm surprised anyone would only give this 3 stars. From a bloke's perspective it is possibly the best romantic drama/comedy i can remember seeing. It had football, De Niro, crazy people, fights & Jennifer Lawrence in skimpy costumes. During the 'Wedding Video' scene i felt genuinely tense and because of the tone of the film i had no idea which way the dance contest would go and i actually cared about the outcome. Highly recommended. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by skippy82 at 19:03, 13 January 2013 | Report This Post


I saw this last night and thought it was amazing. The cast were outstanding especially Jennifer Lawrence. Great to see De Niro back on form . I have been collecting Empire scince 1990 and there has been quite a few dodgy reviews of late. This review is way off. The American football was easy to follow and "a single note performance " from Bradly cooper as suggested from Damon wise makes me wonder if we saw the same film.I Love Empire and each Empire reviewer is of course entitled to... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jezy at 19:45, 23 December 2012 | Report This Post


I saw this last night and thought it was amazing. The cast were outstanding especially Jennifer Lawrence. Great to see De Niro back on form . I have been collecting Empire scince 1990 and there has been quite a few dodgy reviews of late. This review is way off. The American football was easy to follow and "a single note performance " from Bradly cooper as suggested from Damon wise makes me wonder if we saw the same film.I Love Empire and each Empire reviewer is of course entitled to... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jezy at 19:45, 23 December 2012 | Report This Post


Empire got it wrong on this one I'm afraid

A contender for film of the year. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cameron1975Williams at 00:53, 10 December 2012 | Report This Post


Mental Health

Went to see this movie last night. Some brilliant performances and great to see a relatively accurate portrayal of mental illness. Now we come onto Damon Wise's review. You should be ashamed of yourself. Using phrases like 'bipolar and brutal' to describe Cooper's tortured character may be accurate in one sense but they also show an utter ignorance of the illness. Coupled with describing De Niro's character 'is OCD' really did make my blood boil. I strongly suggest you do some research befor... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by chargomp at 09:14, 09 December 2012 | Report This Post


Silver Linings Playbook Review

Silver Linings Playbook walks on a tricky tightrope because of the subject matter, but thanks to David O. Russell's sensitive direction and great characters performed superbly by the talented cast gives it true balance. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 23:29, 06 December 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Nurse Gladys Emmanuel is Bradley Cooper's mum!

INOR SPOILERS* CINEMA: Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell, 2012)ast! I’ve been waiting all my life for a film about a character who’s a bit like me. And now it’s here. Because Bradley Cooper’s bruised, bipolar protagonist really fucking hates Stevie Wonder’s Ma Cherie Amour. Just like me! And that’s not the only reason to celebrate, since Russell’s original, screwball-y film of two lost, damaged souls connecting, is the best film I’ve seen at the cinema this year. Cooper is a psyc... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by rick_7 at 13:11, 03 December 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Nurse Gladys Emmanuel is Bradley Cooper's mum!

L: TheMightyBlackout Silver Linings Playbook is nicely paced, neatly scripted and beautifully acted. It's not quite in the same class as Wallflower, but it's of the same school, certainly. The ending is perhaps a tiny bit too neat considering the tone of the rest of the film, but it's pulled off with enough style to leave you with a grin. 'd agree with this. ... More

Posted by Filmfan 2 at 13:54, 02 December 2012 | Report This Post


Nurse Gladys Emmanuel is Bradley Cooper's mum!

Silver Linings Playbook is nicely paced, neatly scripted and beautifully acted. It's not quite in the same class as Wallflower, but it's of the same school, certainly. The ending is perhaps a tiny bit too neat considering the tone of the rest of the film, but it's pulled off with enough style to leave you with a grin. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheMightyBlackout at 23:40, 30 November 2012 | Report This Post


deserves 4 stars...

I thoroughly enjoyed the film. it was dramatic, funny, romantic. charming. you don't need to know anything about American football to enjoy the film. the performances are brilliant. the chemistry between the characters is perfect. especially Lawrence & Cooper. I'm happy they're working together again in a new film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by megank13 at 22:18, 30 November 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Silver Linings Playbook

In reality, mental illness is no laughing matter but somehow in film, you can find the bright and funny side to it, such as One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. A few weeks ago we had Paul Thomas Anderson’s divisive masterpiece The Master which took a dark and non-conventional look into this illness, whilst director David O. Russell’s latest flick is hoping to be a crowd-pleaser whilst talking mental illness as well as marital failure. Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper), who has bipolar disorder, i... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by R W at 18:27, 29 November 2012 | Report This Post


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