"You let me lie to you for a week?"
"I was trying to be romantic."
The odd juxtapositions of mental illness, ballroom dancing, and football all come together in a dazzling melange in Silver Linings Playbook. Bradley Cooper (as Pat Solitano, Jr.) finally brandishes real acting chops—in addition to his dependably charming good looks—and the on-screen chemistry between him and Jennifer Lawrence (playing Tiffany Maxwell) has a believable reticence crossed with a sizzling undercurrent of irresistibility.
Released from a psychiatric unit, Pat Jr. is living with his parents (played by Jacki Weaver and Robert De Niro) and trying to get his life together. His greatest focus is reconciling with his estranged wife, Nikki. Never mind that restraining order. Then he meets Tiffany, recently widowed and fired from her job for sleeping off her depression with everyone in the office.
Director David O. Russell was first attracted to this story (based on a novel by Matthew Quick) because of the family relationships and the connection to his own 18-year-old son Matt, who is bipolar and has OCD—and makes a cameo appearance in the movie.
Despite a story line riddled with clichés and a predictable rom-com trajectory (could that be why we keep watching them?), the unique quirks and stellar ensemble performance make Silver Linings glitter.