Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell) - 2012

I generally avoid movies about mental illness but the buzz about this one was too hard to ignore.  The first hour really dragged but then it got better.  Bradley Cooper has been in a mental hospital for eight months.  His mother (Jacki Weaver) obtains his release and he immediately makes plans to reunite with his wife (Brea Bee) who has a restraining order against him.  Friends try to match Cooper with Jennifer Lawrence who is also wacky after recently losing her husband.  They hate each other but decide to design a dance routine.  Lead actors Cooper and Lawrence give excellent performances as do the supporting cast that includes Cooper's crazy father (Robert DeNiro).  Although improbable, the ending is satisfying.  [JAM 1/20/2013]


"In Silver Linings Playbook, the bipolar main character, played by Bradley Cooper, lists his meds by neologisms recognizable from TV commercials.  He's tried and abandoned a cocktail of Seroquel, Abilify and lithium (this last, an element of nature, is unpatented and unadvertised).  His love interest (Jennifer Lawrence, who won an Oscar for her performance) is a distressed widow who appears to have some unspecified disorder herself; she's dabbled in Xanax and Effexor, but they made her feel foggy.  And they're not the only ones: nearly everyone else in the cast is clinically diagnosable, with the notable exceptions of the protagonist's mother and his friend's bossy wife, presumably because moms are too busy to go crazy crazy.  Robert De Niro, as Cooper's father, is the only character to play his ailment persuasively, perhaps because the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder are better known and more distinct than those of other psychiatric maladies, whose fits and rages are portrayed as generic (but always psychotic) fits and rages.  De Niro begging Cooper, his lucky charm, to watch the Philadelphia Eagles play on game day; his need to set the television remotes on the table just so - these are identifiable as rituals typical of OCD to anyone who knows anyone with the disorder.  In this happy-go-lucky romantic comedy, mental illness isn't so scary after all; it could be a proxy for any emotional baggage that might delay two lovers in the discovery of their love, and it can apparently be cured, for at least a little while, by entering a dance contest." - Miriam Markowitz The Nation April 22, 2013.