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There’s Always a Silver Lining

The first time I saw the trailer for “Silver Linings Playbook” I was intrigued. It stars some of my favorite actors in a romantic dramady that promised an uplifting ending right there in the title.

Bradley Cooper plays Pat, a man with some small anger management issues fresh out of a court-ordered treatment center trying adapt to life back at home. He meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a widower with plenty of problems on her own.

The two form a … unique friendship, much to the chagrin of all their friends and family. Especially Pat’s father, Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro), a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan who thinks his son’s new relationship is a jinx on the team.

“Playbook” is an interesting character study. You get to not only watch Pat and Tiffany grow as individuals, but also watch their relationship develop together. They learn from each other and find that they’re at their best when they’re together.

This is true for the audience as well. The story follows Pat, and as much as I love Cooper, the scenes he shares with Lawrence are the best. Pat is a mess and for the first part of the film I couldn’t decide if I wanted to slap him and tell him to “Get over it,” or hug him and tell him “It’s all going to be alright.”

silverlinings_aThe first third of the movie can be hard to watch at times because it focuses solely on Pat. Partly, because he’s a painful character to watch and partly because it feels a bit draggy. Once Tiffany enters Pat’s life the film picks up.

Tiffany, though she doesn’t have Pat’s rage issues, is just as messed up. The two first bond while comparing medications their psychiatrists have put them on. As a friendship grows they realize they need each other.

Cooper is good, but Lawrence is amazing! Whether she’s fighting to the death as Katniss, or a shape-shifting mutant Mystique, she can play anything. And she does it well.

The entire film is about learning how to stay positive and even when bad things happen, you have to find the silver lining. At the end of the film, I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it. But the more I think about it, and reflect on it, the more I like it.

It reminds me of “Little Miss Sunshine” in a lot of ways. Not in story or style, just in feeling. “Playbook” has a much, MUCH darker tone than “Sunshine,” but they share similar qualities, especially the ending.

I love movies with hopelessly flawed characters getting a happy ending because it fills me with the hope that everything will work out for me too. The lives of the people in “Silver Linings Playbook” are not neat and simple. They’re messy and complicated and a lot closer to real life than most films out there.

If you look hard enough, you can find the silver lining in anything.

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