"Finding Silver Linings"
At the heart of SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK is a funny, moving, and even uplifting romantic comedy, with a sports twist and other quirky elements. Sadly, however, the entire movie is laced with strong, frequent foul language. There’s also a strong theme of luck, gambling and “reading the signs.”
The story opens with thirtysomething former teacher Pat Solitano moving in with his parents after a stint in a mental institution. Pat refuses to take his meds, however, and keeps getting into angry episodes and brawls. Also, he desperately wants to get back with his wife, Nicky, even though she has a restraining order against him. Pat was put in the mental hospital after he beat the heck out of another teacher when he discovered the guy naked in the shower with Nicky. Clearly, Pat isn’t ready to return to society, especially if he’s not going to take his meds.
Despite Pat’s yearnings for his estranged wife, his married best friend tries to set him up with the friend’s twentysomething sister-in-law, Tiffany. This younger girl’s husband, a policeman, recently died in a car accident. Also, Tiffany clearly has her own psychological issues. Her husband’s death drove her into becoming promiscuous, and she almost immediately offers to take Pat to bed. Pat declines, however, because of his feelings for his wife. He also thinks Tiffany is not really his type as well as being a little too young for him. So, he lets her down kindly.
Pat and Tiffany keep running into each other, however, almost literally. A couple episodes force Pat to finally face reality and start taking his meds. He still wants to get back with his wife, however.
As a quirky friendship begins to develop between Pat and Tiffany, Tiffany agrees to get a letter to Pat’s wife. There’s a catch, however. Tiffany wants Pat to be her partner in a fancy dance competition on Dec. 28 during the height of the Christmas season. Pat agrees, but this irks Pat’s volatile father, Pat, Sr. The father thinks Pat is a good luck charm whenever the Philadelphia Eagles play football. The father’s been banned from the stadium for too many fights during tailgate parties and games. Pat’s father needs Pat to skip a major pre-Christmas practice session with Tiffany and attend an important game, or he’ll lose a bet that could wipe out his savings. Cue the scriptwriter for some comical and dramatic twists that leave the viewer feeling better by the end of the story.
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK is a mixed blessing. The episodes and fights Pat gets into when he’s off his meds in the first act make SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK very tense and hard to watch. After he gets back on his meds, however, the movie starts to regain a lighter touch. As a result, the movie hits all its major plot points in the second and third acts in a very entertaining fashion. These delightful, often comical and dramatic twists and turns make SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK an Oscar worthy romance that could find a big audience. Some excellent comical, but realistic, acting take everything up a notch. All the actors are really good, but the two leads, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, show why they’re among America’s top newer actors today. Veteran Robert DeNiro gives them excellent support as the protagonist’s father. The transition scene between the second and third act where their three characters come to a sudden realization leading to the movie’s final climax is absolutely priceless. Jennifer Lawrence in particular shines in that scene. Her performance shows that the promise she displayed in 2010’s WINTER’S BONE was definitely no fluke.
Sadly, however, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK has abundant foul language, about 130 obscenities and profanities. This will make it unacceptable viewing for media-wise adults. Anyone who knows the raucous reputation of Philadelphia sports fans probably won’t be surprised by this amount of foul language. Shrinking violets and quiet Quakers they are not! SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK also has a couple crude lines of sexual dialogue. In addition, there are a couple brief flashback scenes where Pat discovers his wife and her lover naked in the shower. The sexual references, though very brief, and especially the frequent foul language, are really gratuitous as well as gratuitously strong. Eliminating them could bring this comedy into PG-13, if not PG, territory.
That aside, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK contains some uncomfortable scenes of family conflict and violent outbursts when the protagonist’s off his meds. The good news is that the protagonist admits his problems and makes a serious effort to improve himself. He does it without faith or religion, however. This fact feeds into the movie’s primarily Romantic worldview. There are also many references in SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK to luck, lucky charms, “reading the signs,” and gambling. Extreme caution is therefore advised, especially for sensitive viewers. This is not a movie for younger teenagers, much less pre-adolescent children.
(RoRo, Pa, H, B, C, LLL, VV, SS, NN, A, DD, MM) Strong Romantic worldview in a quirky romantic comedy setting, with some pagan superstition about luck, some humanist psychology about therapy and taking one’s meds (these things could be placed in a religious context since mankind is both spirit and body but the movie doesn’t do that), and some light moral, redemptive elements include one or two general acknowledgements of God and two emotionally disturbed people make an effort to stop their immoral behavior and act better; about 109 obscenities (many “f” words and two “d” words over end credits in a song), eight strong profanities, 13 light profanities, and one or two scenes where someone insults another person with an obscene gesture; some upsetting violence surrounding “bi-polar” protagonist with emotional problems who gets into fights and knocks things over because he refuses to take his meds, including protagonist gets upset about not finding his wedding video, and he unintentionally hits his mother during the episode and his father holds him down and slap him to subdue him and protagonist in analyst’s office gets upset because analyst played his wedding song to see his reaction and protagonist angrily knocks over the magazine rack in the office, some children pick on man’s woman friend and minor scuffle erupts, flashback with some blood shows protagonist beating man when he discovers the man naked in the shower with his wife, and a fight starts to break out in parking lot at football game when some white fans harass some Indian immigrants but fight isn’t shown; very briefly depicted and implied sex scene in a couple short flashbacks of man discovering his wife naked in the shower with another man and woman makes a crude sexual proposition to protagonist but he declines; rear female nudity when protagonist discovers his wife naked in the shower with a co-worker and some upper male nudity at a football game; alcohol use; brief smoking seen and bi-polar protagonist takes medication; and, lying, several mentions of luck and lucky charms and “reading the signs” (mostly regarding football games and gambling on football games), gambling, and movie’s positive references to marriage is slightly undercut when the plot problem is resolved at the end.
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK is a quirky romantic comedy with some highly dramatic moments. Thirtysomething former teacher Pat Solitano moves in with his parents after time in a Philadelphia mental institution. Pat refuses to take his meds, however, and keeps getting into angry episodes and brawls. Also, he desperately wants to get back with his estranged wife, Nicky, who cheated on him. In short order, Pat realizes he has some serious anger issues, so he finally gets back on his meds. At the same time, he befriends his best friend’s twentysomething sister-in-law, Tiffany. Tiffany agrees to get a letter to Pat’s wife if Pat will be her partner at a fancy dance competition dance around Christmas time. However, his father’s habit of betting on the Philadelphia Eagles may disrupt both those plans. Or, vice versa.
At heart, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK is a funny, moving and even uplifting romantic comedy. Sadly, however, the entire movie is laced with strong, frequent foul language, about 130 examples. There’s also a strong theme of luck, gambling, and “reading the signs,” as well as some brief gratuitous sexual content.