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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Mar 1, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook Movie Review: The Most Feel Good Movie Among The Oscar Nominees

‘SILVER LINING PLAYBOOK’ is that rare film that got nominated in all the Oscar acting categories: Jennifer Lawrence as best actress, Bradley Cooper as best actor, Robert de Niro as best supporting actor and Jacki Weaver as best supporting actress.

It turned the romantic comedy genre on its head, with the hero being bipolar and the heroine, a slut, but it’s the most feel good movie among the Oscar nominees, wacky and hilarious but life-affirming and anchored on some serious emotional stability issues.

Pat (Cooper) comes home after spending 8 months in a mental hospital. His dad Pat Sr. (de Niro) has some obsessive-compulsive habits of his own. Pat Sr., a great fan of the Philadelphia Eagles, tries to connect with Pat Jr. but Pat Jr. is more interested in reconciling with his unfaithful wife Nikki (Brea Bee), the very reason why he broke down.

His friend Ronnie (John Ortiz) is married to Veronica (Julia Stiles, now relegated to supporting roles) and, through them, he gets to meet Veronica’s sister, Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), who has depression problems of her own. Her policeman husband died in a freak accident while helping someone with a flat tire and she reacts by sleeping with all the people in her office, both men and women.

Pat asks Tiffany to deliver a letter to his ex-wife who’s a close friend of Veronica. But Tiffany will only do this if he’d agree to be her partner in a ballroom dance contest to be held during the coming Christmas season in time with an important football championship night where Pat’s dad makes an important bet.

The lead characters in this weird love story are both oddballs but, strangely, we feel for them, we root for them, and yes, we cry for them. Written and directed by David Russell (“The Fighter”, which won best supporting Oscars for Christian Bale and Melissa Leo) based on the novel by Matthew Quick, the film works mainly because the two leads are dazzling in their respective roles. Bradley Cooper redeems himself from “The Hangover” movies. The film is told from his point of view and he gives a truly uplifting performance. Two sequences stand out: one in his shrink’s office when he hears the song “My Cheri Amour” and when he’s looking for his wedding video in the middle of the night that erupts into violence.

Jennifer Lawrence comes half an hour into the movie but the moment she makes an appearance, she just blows you away with the energy of her performance that’s really something to behold, making you forget she’s Katniss Everdeen. She’s particularly good with the manic delivery of her lines, like in their first date at a diner on Halloween night and in her show-stopping explanation to De Niro why she’s not a jinx to Pat, leading to her analysis of what the New York Giants’ Excelsior motto means. She’s 22 and Bradley is 15 years older but they have great chemistry on screen. Needless to say, the climactic dance sequence is a real winner. It’ll be a sin to miss this heartwarming crazy-boy-meets-nutty-girl love story.