“Nikki’s waiting for me to get in shape and get my life back together. Then we’re going to be together.”
– Pat Solitano Jr
Pat Solitano, Jr (Bradley Cooper) is released from a mental hospital after serving eight months as was the minimum amount of time agreed upon by the courts. Pat was treated for bipolar disorder, something that was previously undiagnosed and something that irrevocably changed his life. He is released into the care of his mother Dolores (Jacki Weaver) and his father Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro), and moves in with them. Pat has changed his life and is eager to reconcile with his wife, Nikki, who is a big reason he ended up in the hospital. She cheated on him with a colleague, causing Pat to give the guilty man a terrible beating. He will hear nothing of the fact that his marriage is over. Pat learns his parents seem to be struggling financially a bit and that his father has turned to illegal bookmarking to get money together to open a restaurant.
Pat is upset about the restraining order that Nikki had taken out against him and that it is still in effect, though he is sure that he is getting his life together and that she will take him back when she realises this. Pat is seeing his court-mandated therapist Dr Patel (Anupam Kher), who is doing his utmost to help Pat out so that he will not be hospitalised again. Pat is getting to a better place in his life, and Patel sees this, though there are still issues that need to be worked out. Pat shares a lot with his therapist, including his new positive outlook on life, enshrined by the term “excelsior”. Pat is invited to dinner one night at his friend Ronnie (John Ortiz) and his wife Veronica (Julia Stiles). At dinner he meets Tiffany Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence), Veronica’s widowed sister, whom he feels is completely socially stunted. The two seem to get along, especially when discussing medication, yet by the end of the night they are at extreme odds again, matters which are exacerbated by the fact that Pat turned down her offer of sex.
Soon, though, Tiffany starts popping up everywhere and is relentless. Pat gets over thinking of her as a slut and thinking of her as a useful tool to get in touch with Nikki again. Naturally, it is a quid pro quo relationship, and Tiffany has Pat promise that he will participate in an upcoming dance competition with her. As reluctant as he is, he finally agrees to do it. Pat is sure that the competition will be the thing to show Nikki that he is a changed man and that they have a chance. Pat Sr. on the other hand is angry that his son is always out and about with Tiffany. Pat Sr. wants Pat at home, he is convinced that Pat is his lucky charm to get the Philadelphia Eagles to win their games. Pat is torn in two directions, and soon discovers that he likes Tiffany more than he should, and she is most certainly interested in him, crushed that he cannot see her through his obsession with a cheating woman who does not deserve him.
Pat Sr. has Pat attend a Philadelphia Eagles game, meaning Pat will miss his dance practise with Tiffany, and being there will win his dad the game he bet basically all their money on. Instead Pat and his brother Jake (Shea Whigham) get into a fight along with Dr Patel, and the Eagles lose the game. Tiffany is outraged that Pat made a commitment and didn’t stick to it, and Pat Sr. is in a state over losing all his money. To even things out Randy (Paul Herman) and Pat Sr. make a parlay with one another: the Eagles will win and Tiffany and Pat will score at least a 5 in their upcoming dance competition. Will Pat Sr. win the money back that he needs for the restaurant? Will Tiffany and Pat be able to work through their silly drama? Will they be able to score the 5 to make the parlay a winner for Pat Sr.? Will Nikki and Pat be able to reconcile now that Pat has turned his whole life around? Will Pat ever fully be in control of his problems?
A 7/10 for Silver Linings Playbook. I have never actually just gotten to this movie, despite how popular it got, despite how much it is recommended to me, none of it. Eventually, though, as always, I got to it. I had a good time with this movie, it really had me smiling and laughing with it. For one, Jennifer Lawrence completely stole the show for me, and was certainly worth her Oscar win. She was absolutely crazy yet adorable at the same time. She was intelligent and funny but not even remotely normal, and it worked. Bradley Cooper was fantastic, and the chemistry that he and Lawrence shared was just brilliant, and they complemented each other so well. I know this sounds crazy, but I knew almost nothing about this movie going in, and I liked the fact that I was not really aware of what was to come. There was plenty to laugh at, and plenty that brought it down to a more serious tone. De Niro was very good here, and it was nice to see him with a better role than usual nowadays. Jacki Weaver was so well cast as Dolores Solitano, she just worked the mother well. She was timid yet supportive, shy yet loving; she managed to balance out her husband just well. Pat Solitano, Sr. was terribly entertaining, the way that his allegiances just flicked around. Chris Tucker provided some smiles with his strange personality and funny friendship with Pat. I must say that this was a good movie, a bit soppy at times but heartwarming nonetheless and flawed , no doubt, but definitely worth checking out, even if only for Lawrence’s performance.