Silver Linings Playbook

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(2012) ★★★★

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Recently diagnosed as bipolar, Bradley Cooper leaves a psychiatric unit to move back in with his parents. The only thing they can be sure of is that he’ll always tell the truth… as he sees it. Mom Jacki Weaver fusses over him, dad Robert De Niro is a superstitious bookie who hopes he has his lucky charm back. But De Niro’s OCD rituals are upset when Cooper meets Jennifer Lawrence, a plucky young widow with problems of her own. Sentimental and riddled with coincidences, Silver Linings is as cutely contrived as any Doris Day/Rock Hudson studio-approved romcom. And what could have been an insufferable, swirling bucket of quirk (I Heart Huckabees? Mark Wahlberg in Cooper’s role?) is elevated by terrific acting – all four leads were Oscar nominated – and smart handling by David O. Russell, the man who once made such a funny meal of Flirting with Disaster. His feelgood romance about pain and loss is never morose like Blue Valentine. It’s taken its happy pills, and is all the better for it. Incidentally, the trigger for Cooper’s explosive tirades is the wedding video song (My Cherie Amour) that was playing when he caught his wife cheating on him in the shower: “Sometimes I hear it when it’s not playing.” In fact, most of the music is quite cool: Stevie Wonder’s Don’t You Worry ’bout a Thing, Led Zeppelin, Dave Brubeck, Dylan and Cash…

Certificate: 15
Duration: 122min