Bradley Cooper has truly come into his own as a dramatic actor, as we stated in our The Words review. Sure, he has always had the power to be a cinematic leading man. But illustrating the actor’s truly deep emotional talents is his latest film, Silver Linings Playbook.
Cooper portrays Pat, who we meet as he is released from a Baltimore mental facility after an eight-month stint because of some “incident.” Well, we learn that he found his wife in the shower with another man and beat him within inches of his life. Yes, he had a rage issue, but upon further examination, it is determined that he is bipolar and in need of help.
When he leaves the hospital, everyone treats Pat with kid gloves on one hand while the other hand is holding a phone, ready to call the cops. But, his parents (Jackie Weaver and Robert De Niro) try their best to help him while he makes it all the way back to sanity. But things get complicated when he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a woman with more than a few problems of her own.
As shown in the Silver Linings Playbook trailer, ballroom dance plays a part in the film. We won’t say how, or for that matter why, but its use of it as a vehicle to heal these two wounded souls is rooted in the book by Matthew Quick. So, it’s hard to fault, but perhaps filmmaker David O. Russell -- whose work we adore -- didn’t see it as an integral part of the film that the story demanded as opposed to other arenas such as Pat’s relationship with his father.
That part, this Silver Linings Playbook review has to state, is simply exquisite. De Niro has not been this nuanced in two decades. If he is not nominated for Best Supporting Actor, this writer will stop following the Oscars! Watching De Niro and Cooper bond over their beloved Philadelphia Eagles are cinematic moments to treasure. And although Lawrence has been buzzed about as a leader in the Best Actress race, she astounds, but does not run away with the prize. The Hunger Games star further pushes her A-list dramatic actress prowess initially shown with her first Oscar nod for Winter’s Bone.
And after Cooper’s twin tower 2012 performances in The Words and his latest, Movie Fanatic is curious where he goes next. Does he continue his box office titan quest, a la Limitless and The A-Team, or take on more roles as challenging as that of the bipolar, depressed individual who is trying to win his wife back by proving he is as normal as ever in the more often brilliant than not Silver Linings Playbook?
Lastly, we would be remiss not to mention the performance of Chris Tucker. He is finally back onscreen as Cooper’s friend and kills it in his return. Welcome back, you talented individual!