Starting in late November, I began combing the local movie listings each week, hoping against hope that director David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” would be playing somewhere within reasonable driving distance.
I was regularly disappointed.
It wasn’t until Monday that I was finally able to see the film, which was given a wider release earlier this month thanks, in no small part, to the Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations recently heaped upon Russell, his cast and the picture itself.
It was worth the wait.
Adapted from Matthew Quick’s novel of the same name, “Silver Linings Playbook” is as charming, smart, funny, sad and important a movie as you’ll see this year.
That the film manages to successfully evoke all of these emotions is a tribute to the deft hand with which Russell tells the story of Pat, a bipolar former teacher who is trying to get his wife back and his life back together following an eight-month stint in a mental hospital.
As Pat, Bradley Cooper turns in the best performance of his career as does Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Tiffany, a grieving widow who helps Pat navigate his new life while struggling with demons of her own.
Given Lawrence’s starring role in the blockbuster “Hunger Games” franchise, many were quick to paint her as a matinee idol a la Kristen Stewart, but this performance, coupled with a breakout role in 2010’s “Winter’s Bone,” cements Lawrence’s place among the industry’s most promising young talents.
“Playbook” also is a return to form for Robert De Niro, who had been merely treading water in shlockfests like “Righteous Kill” and those awful “Meet the Parents” sequels.
A triumphant film about the importance of compassion and support in the quest for redemption and recovery, “Silver Linings Playbook” is not to be missed.