Silver Linings Playbook

I seem to have a habit of watching “Oscar” winning movies after they win all their awards. I have been hearing so many positive things about “Silver Linings Playbook” that I really hoped to see it before “Oscar” night, and I made it by one day: I talked Sue into going last night. We both enjoyed the show, although for perhaps slightly different reasons, making it a fun date night together.

I absolutely adore Jennifer Lawrence, and her performance as “Tiffany” in “Playbook” was extraordinary. Tiffany is a young woman who, while in no way responsible for the death of her husband, carries a burden of guilt that is destroying her life. Her struggle to deal with the loss has taken her down self destructive paths that, while filling the viewer with empathy also causes one to chuckle over the brutally honest description she shares of these paths. Tiffany is struggling to regain some semblance of normalcy in her life, but we become all too aware how precariously close she remains to the dark abyss of grief that threatens to reclaim her.

Bradley Cooper plays “Pat,” a man who has also taken a stroll over the line of sanity when he assaulted a man he found in the shower with his wife. Pat is sentenced to eight months in a mental health facility, and the movie begins with him being released into his mother’s custody. It rapidly becomes clear that Pat is still struggling unsuccessfully with the fallout of his failed marriage, and in all likelihood will soon end up back in the facility. He is under the delusion that he can reconcile with his wife if he loses weight and gains a better understanding of her career as an English teacher.

When the two meet, we initially know of Pat’s situation, but it soon becomes obvious that Tiffany’s problems rival his own. They strike up a strange friendship that is both interesting and amusing to the moviegoer. The plot centers on Pat and Tiffany trying to find something good in the world to grasp hold of: The silver linings in their dark clouds of despair.

As the movie wound down, I honestly didn’t know how it would end. There were so many characters teetering on the edge of sanity that I suspected one or more would lose the battle, especially Pat’s father, played by Robert De Niro. I won’t play spoiler and give up how the story ends, but there were several twists in the final 15 minutes that I didn’t see coming, making it very entertaining. Sue said she also enjoyed the movie, especially the scenes involving dancing.

I strongly recommend the movie “Silver Linings Playbook.” Who knows: If it wins “Best Picture” at tonight’s Academy Awards, it will be the first in a long time that I actually saw before it won! (even if it’s only the day before)