Plot: What’s it about?
Award season seems to bring about the best in the annual slew of films. Such is the case with Silver Linings Playbook, a film that nearly went overlooked by many but thanks to some high profile stars and a great script, this little “movie that could” is now one of my recent favorites. At face value, Silver Linings Playbook has everything it takes to make it successful: a great cast that includes Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro just to name a few. Director David O. Russell has had a varied career in terms of his films, though I’ve enjoyed most of them: Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees and The Fighter are all worth watching. But the crux of a movie dealing with mental illness is akin to that of one dealing with alcoholism or drug addiction. Translation, you’ve got to do it right else it’ll blow up in your face. Seeing as how the film was nominated 8 Academy Awards including Best Picture and all four acting categories, I’d say they nailed it.
Pat Solanto (Bradley Cooper) has problems. He beat up the lover of his wife, Nikki (Brea Bee), but has since been sentenced to a court-ordered institution. Having been diagnoses with bipolar disorder, his mother (Jacki Weaver) has discharged him without his father’s (Robert De Niro) knowledge. Though Pat refuses to take the medication prescribed to him, he’s still somewhat functional. Convinced he can make it through life looking at the positive or the “Silver Linings” of things, it’s then that he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a widow and someone with some issues of her own. Though the two seem to hit it off, Pat is still trying to rekindle thinks with Nikki. During this time we also learn of the inner-workings of the Solanto family with Pat Sr. (De Niro) a rabid Philadelphia Eagles fan, but someone who has been banned from going to games any longer. This, of course, begs the question – will everything work out in the end?
If there was ever any doubt that Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence were just pretty faces, this film proves they both have what it takes to actually act. Lawrence won a well-deserved Best Actress Oscar for her work here and I’d heard comparisons to Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty as her closest competition. Having seen Zero Dark Thirty, I can say that the Academy made the right call here. Lawrence, the “girl on fire” is pitch perfect here and holds her own with the likes of De Niro and Jacki Weaver. Simply put, she’s stunning and commands the screen. My only complaint about the film is that it is a tad bit predictable and though I won’t say what or why, it’s not enough to ruin what is otherwise a great movie. Highly recommended.
Video: How does it look?
Presented in a 2.40:1 AVC HD transfer, Silver Linings Playbook looks just about as we’d expect it would – excellent. There are fans of hand held camera work and there are detractors, I for one find it a bit more “personal” and so long as it’s not overused, think it adds to a film. Colors are very warm and natural, detail is second to none and this has a more naturalistic look to it than some other studio films. Contrast and black levels are on the money as well. There’s a bit of grain associated with a few of the outdoor nighttime scenes, but nothing to bad. For a new to Blu-ray film, this delivers.
Audio: How does it sound?
Though the majority of the film is dialogue-driven, there are some instances in which the DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack does really make its presence known. I’m referring to the ending dance scene and some of the interior “yelling” sequences as well as a scene at an Eagles game. Surrounds are there, but are very discrete. While there are certainly some other movies out there that will test the limits of your system, this one isn’t meant to and it sounds just as it should.
Supplements: What are the extras?
There are enough supplements here to warrant a purchase, though the lack of a commentary track is somewhat disappointing. Still, onward we must go and we start off with a series of deleted scenes followed by a Q & A session that appears to be a mix of a few different sessions. “Silver Linings Playbook: The Movie that Became a Movement” features some pretty good interviews with the principal members of the cast and crew. “Dance Rehearsal” is just that, we see Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence going through their moves. Think of it as Dancing with the Stars in the most literal sense of the word. “Learn to Dance like Pat and Tiffany” features choreographer Mandy Moore as she helps the stars learn to dance. Finally we have “Going Steadicam with Bradley Cooper” in which Cooper goes around the set with a steadicam. Admittedly it delivers what it says.