By Bill Dudley

Silver Linings Playbook is a sharp story adapted from the Matthew Quick novel, with a very clever and enticing screenplay by the film’s director David O. Russell. It stars Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Russell, and Robert De Niro who are all either battling OCD, bi-polar disorder, or both.

Neurosis and OCD are not  humorous topics, but David O. Russell has crafted this gem of a movie so that humor is how we are introduced to how people successfully cope with, and attempt to conquer  these problems.

De Niro plays the Philadelphia based father of a man (Cooper), who has just been released from a mental care facility. Dad does everything he can to include his son in his daily routine, which includes bookmaking, and his obsession with his favorite football team. That’s not an easy job as Cooper does many bizarre  things like waking his parents up in the middle of the night to announce that Ernest Hemingway has let him down.

The Cooper character (Pat), also wants to re-connect with his estranged wife, thus finding the ‘Silver Lining’ we all seek in our relationships.

Jennifer Russell gives a compelling performance as a bi-polar young widow, who has substituted one night stands for what she really seeks in life, which is a loving relationship with another human being who has similar problems. Chris Tucker is zany as Pat’s very troubled best buddy from the mental facility, who escapes from it at least three times.

Fireworks ensue, as all the characters come together in the end to find their own ‘Silver Linings’. This important character study strikes home vividly as Director/Screenwriter David O.Russell, who gave us another excellent film recently, The Fighter, also has a son with OCD, who has a brief cameo in the film.

I do have to classify this film as romantic comedy, even tho it tackles some very big and disturbing issues. I predict Silver Linings Playbook to become one of the most positive memories of your film experience this year.


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