Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Video review: "Silver Linings Playbook"
“Silver Linings Playbook” pulled off something that hadn’t been done in more than three decades: Academy Award nominations for best picture, screenplay, director and all four acting categories. This heartwarming but sobering drama from writer/director David O. Russell (“The Fighter”) showcases his ability to pull maximum effort from his cast.
Much like professional athletes will refer to their leader as a players’ coach, Russell is an actors’ director. Consider: his last two films have garnered seven Oscar acting nominations, with three wins.
The movie itself doesn’t live up to the strength of its performances, but it’s still an ambitious and largely successful picture. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence play Pat and Tiffany, two young people struggling with serious mental health issues. Pat has just been released from an institution, while Tiffany lives in the garage behind her parents’ house.
They’re also both single – he through divorce, she a widow – and set about on a tentative, combative romance. Pat is still obsessed with his ex-wife, and Tiffany comes up with the off-kilter idea of entering a dance contest to help them bond.
Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver have strong, authentic roles as Pat’s long-suffering parents, while Chris Tucker shines as his best friend and fellow ex-patient. One of the film’s strengths is that it doesn’t ignore the impact of the main characters’ craziness on those around them.
Funny, touching and wry, “Silver Linings Playbook” is a cracked-mirror reflection of the classic love story.
Video extras are pretty good, though lacking a commentary track. The DVD comes with deleted scenes and a making-of documentary, plus featurettes on rehearsing the couple’s big dance scene and “Going Steadicam With Bradley Cooper.”
Upgrade to the Blu-ray/DVD combo, and you had a Q&A with the cast and another feature, “Learn To Dance Like Pat & Tiffany.”