Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe: The January Sale!
Try 3 issues of Empire magazine for just £1
Must-Have Movie Collectibles
Bid on some classic memorabilia
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

Bradley Cooper
Jennifer Lawrence
Chris Tucker.
David O Russell.
David O Russell.
Running Time
138 minutes

Les Miserables
5 Star Empire Rating
3 Star Empire Rating
Two For The Road
3 Star Empire Rating
4 Star Empire Rating
2 Star Empire Rating

Les Miserables
5 Star Empire Rating
Duke of Burgundy, The
5 Star Empire Rating
5 Star Empire Rating
EMPIRE ESSAY: When Harry Met Sally
5 Star Empire Rating
5 Star Empire Rating

Silver Linings Playbook
Crazy brutal love

submit to reddit

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).

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.

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

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Silver Linings Playbook
Empire Star Rating

Definitely worth 4 stars

Really enjoyed this movie and thought that Bradley Coopers portrayal of a bi-polar guy was pretty damn good. Really felt the intensity in the scenes where he loses it in the middle of the night and wakes his parents...very tense. The writer of the Empire review for this film seems to have missed several elements and nuances to the mental health part of the story. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by LeelaBlue at 22:10, 28 November 2012 | Report This Post

Loved it!

What?! this film is terrific! a bit too long, but engaging from start to finish. I loved it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tysmuse at 22:52, 27 November 2012 | Report This Post

RE: Could have been spectacular

I really enjoyed this. Great performances. Had the same dark humour as The Fighter. A decent depiction of bi-polar disorder too. ... More

Posted by Bickle at 21:48, 24 November 2012 | Report This Post

Could have been spectacular

I loved this film, to use the crappy film student vernacular 'it made me laugh and it made me cry' but i felt there was something missing which could have turned this from a lovely human story to some sort of breathtaking testament to the human spirit, anyway i think it deserves 4 stars ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Swedle at 10:25, 24 November 2012 | Report This Post

Not-too-disastrous? This is probably the best performance I've seen De Niro give for years. The film is charming and nice and purposefully small, managing to make high stakes from small victories. Cooper is the lesser performance when put next to Lawrence and De Niro, but in most films would be a stand out. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Masked Dave at 00:42, 24 November 2012 | Report This Post


L: fatboycheese How the hell can you rate this film the same as the latest Twilight Crap? ts a limited choice of five, really. ... More

Posted by UTB at 20:25, 23 November 2012 | Report This Post


Hmmm, some funny and endearing moments, but was a bit too scatty with far too much freewheeling improv. Felt a bit A-level drama. 30 minutes too long but worth a watch if you've nothing better to do. ... More

Posted by dolfinack at 21:50, 22 November 2012 | Report This Post

Can I also say. How the hell can you rate this film the same as the latest Twilight Crap? You should be embarrassed! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by fatboycheese at 10:35, 22 November 2012 | Report This Post


I loved this film as did everyone in the cinema watching it. A funny off kilter romance. Often moving with brilliant performances from everyone involved especially Cooper and Lawrence. I don't know a thing about Baseball / Soccer! Doesn't matter. Go and see it, please. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by fatboycheese at 21:12, 21 November 2012 | Report This Post

Previous page

20 Sitcom Spin-Offs That Were Doomed To Fail
From Joey to Ally and back again…

Jessica Chastain Takes The IMDbunker
The Most Violent Year star takes our most random quiz

Five Impressive Oscar Isaac Roles You Didn't Realise Were Oscar Isaac
Welcome to Oscar season...

Johnny Depp And Paul Bettany Talk Mortdecai
How good is your 'Mortdecai face'?

Fables: A Primer
An introduction to Bill Willingham’s wonderfully dark fairy-tale world

12 Hitchcock Remakes Ranked From Best To Worst
Lifeboat in space, anyone?

From Mission: Impossible To Mortdecai: Writer/Director David Koepp Talks Screenwriting
What would you do if you were in charge of the Spider-Man franchise?

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)