If you were an Alias fan, you knew Bradley Cooper long before he became famous. And on Alias, he played Sydney’s friend Will, a lovable journalist who was sweet but who you felt sorry for, because you just knew Sydney was never going to end up with him. And then, somehow, Cooper transformed from that into a Hollywood actor who, I’m sorry to say, plays a lot of characters who are arrogant jerks. And despite my love for him from his Alias days, I started to wonder if he was kind of that way in real life too.
So you can imagine how wonderful I find it that, in Silver Linings Playbook, Bradley Cooper plays a character way against the type he’s been playing lately. As Pat, a man with bi-polar disorder who has just been released from a psychiatric hospital, Cooper is flat-out amazing, veering between crazy and vulnerable with ease. And Jennifer Lawrence, as Tiffany, is the perfect counterpart to Cooper. At first I thought she was too young to play a romantic role against Cooper, but she’s perfect here – Pat and Tiffany seem like true equals. Or, you know, equally crazy.
Besides Cooper and Lawrence’s performances, the other thing I loved about this movie was how it struck the perfect balance between drama and comedy. The subject matter here is kind of grim: Pat is bi-polar. Tiffany is a widow. Pat’s father (played by Robert DeNiro, who, it goes without saying, is awesome) has substantial anger issues of his own. And yet this movie was funny, albeit in a dark way at times. I love that combination – a movie that makes me stop and think about things, but that also makes me laugh.
Silver Linings Playbook draws to a close with a weird and wonderful sequence that involves two bets: one about the Philadelphia Eagles, the other about a dance competition. And I have to say, watching the dance scene unfold is what solidified my overwhelming admiration for this film. I loved, loved, LOVED the dance scene. Seriously, I can’t remember smiling that hard at a movie sequence in a long time. And if a movie about such tough subject matter can make you that happy, then it’s pretty brilliant in my book.
My Grade: A(Image via MTV)