Directed by David O. Russell
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence
I didn’t read this novel when it came out, it seemed impenetrable. Regardless, I wanted to see this movie but didn’t want to see it, because Bradley Cooper doesn’t really hold water for me, until now. He’s pretty badass, and this performance goes a long way in convincing doubting Debbie’s like me. Little known fact, I worked as the office Production Assistant on ‘Flirting With Disaster’, David O. Russell’s second feature. It wasn’t much fun, I was unhappy in life, and going to the set every day was strange. Josh Brolin was a very nice man, Patricia Arquette hugged me when I brought her backpack to her hotel, and Ben Stiller never recognized my existence. George Segal however, was hilarious, when he saw my Pete & Pete crew jacket (a kids television show I worked on for three years) he made a joke about me being retarded. It doesn’t sound funny now, or maybe it does. Trust me, it was then.
‘Silver Linings Playbook’ has all of DOR’s wild energy, which you find in ‘Three Kings’, and the ‘Fighter’ (when Christian Bale runs out of the crack house and jumps two stories into a dumpster, or the girl fight on the front porch), you know where he starts a scene and everyone is talking at once, and won’t shut up until someone gets slapped. DeNiro basically steals this movie, and it’s the second time this week that he’s done it for me. I watched ‘Being Flynn’ the other night, another adaptation (sad, sad, sad), and DeNiro marches through the movie basically doing a sober Max Cady, “you think you’re better than me?” So great!
When DeNiro and Cooper get punch happy, it’s hilarious, and Cooper’s character finally screws up DeNiro’s bookmaking scheme, and Jennifer Lawrence swoops down to help, and it’s like watching a school yard rumble roll through the furniture section of Macy’s. DeNiro plays the sad and broken down father to Cooper’s crazy as a shithouse rat son. Jennifer Lawrence reminded me of Buffalo ’66, which I happened to watch the other night. And! There is ballroom dancing, but it is such an afterthought to Jennifer Lawrence running down the street.
Cooper is a sly actor, he totally steps aside and lets the real talent shine, John Ortiz (underrated) and Jennifer Lawrence feed off him. In my novice estimation, an actor’s performance goes up a notch when he or she shuts up and lets the scene come to them. Cooper does this over and over. The scene that made the movie for me, and I roared for a long time after it happened, Cooper and Lawrence are running down a suburban street arguing about a plot point that you need to see yourself, and they stop to catch their breath. (Cooper’s character is a fitness nut) Midway through the scene he spits on the ground, (a thing guys do when they are doing some athletic thing and they are outside, it just happens, we spit on the ground), Lawrence gets offended and spits at Cooper’s feet. And then they take off running; it’s a golden moment. I can’t spoil this movie for you, even if you haven’t read this book, go see this movie. It’s tears, in a good way.