CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

Lifestyle

November 16, 2012

MOVIE REVIEW: 'Silver Linings Playbook': Perfect Models of Imperfection

"Silver Linings Playbook" serves as a textbook example of why directors matter. In any other hands, the adaptation of Matthew Quick's novel would be the stuff of banal rom-com fluff or, perhaps worse, self-consciously quirky indie cliches.

Thankfully, this fractured fairy tale of mental illness, family drama, ragged romance and die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fandom has landed in the superbly capable hands of David O. Russell.

In 2010, Russell proved that he could breathe fresh life into the come-from-behind sports saga in the grittily uplifting "The Fighter." Now, he returns to the kind of off-kilter family dynamics he became famous for with films like "Spanking the Monkey" and "Flirting With Disaster," taking an all-too-familiar scenario of domestic dysfunction and injecting it with both spontaneity and heart.

As the movie opens, Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) is being discharged from a Baltimore psychiatric facility by his mother, Dolores (Jacki Weaver), having been sent there after an incident involving his estranged wife. Determined to embark on a new life of positive thinking ("Excelsior!" is Pat's mantra), Pat returns to his childhood home, where his father, Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro), runs a small book-making operation, kept afloat by football bets, superstition and obsessive-compulsive habits that suggest where Pat Jr. learned his more questionable coping strategies.

Off his meds and "white-knuckling it," Pat Jr. resolves to reunite with his estranged wife, Nikki; meanwhile, he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a sharp-tongued young widow with an acute nonsense-detector and a knack for brutal honesty equalled only by Pat's own impulsive, socially disastrous candor.

"Everything's under control," says Dolores at one point. But nothing's under control in this volatile petri dish of a world where emotions dart and glance off one another like so many highly charged pinballs. If "Silver Linings Playbook" often reverts to contrived devices — including a climax that features not just one but two all-important competitive showdowns — Russell choreographs them with a spare, unfussy forthrightness, as well as an unerring sense of place (crabby snacks and homemades share crucial supporting roles).

Text Only
Lifestyle
  • BRIA Pet of the week: Bria needs a forever home

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • HP historic schools 1 Holly Pond’s historic schools

    Anyone who has ever traveled through the countryside in and around Holly Pond knows why a settlement was built there.

    April 13, 2014 5 Photos

  • SOUTHERN STYLE: City kid walking

    I may sound like a farm kid, and in truth, I did spend a lot of time on my grandparents’ Landersville farm, but I wasn’t a farm kid — I was a city kid.

    April 13, 2014

  • HUCKABEE Pet of the week: Huckabee needs a forever home

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Stepping forward: The real Colbert

    Letterman changed the late-night TV game between his run on NBC's "Late Night" and starting the "Late Show" franchise in 1993. And while it's tough to replace a pop-culture icon, Colbert, in terms of pedigree and sense of humor, makes the most sense.

    April 11, 2014

  • VIDEO: CBS taps Colbert as Letterman’s Late Show successor

    Bloomberg’s Jon Erlichman reports that CBS has announced Stephen Colbert as its choice to replace the retiring David Letterman as host of “The Late Show” on Bloomberg Television’s “Lunch Money.”

     

    April 10, 2014

  • 2 pics.jpg Accomplished vocalists to perform at Wallace State April 22

    Two amazing vocalists will perform on Tuesday, April 22 at Wallace State Community College as part of the college’s annual Arts in April celebration.
    Mezzo-soprano Maggie Gill and Tenor Shane Bloemetjie will each sing a selection of operatic and/or musical theater tunes as they perform, accompanied on piano by Mike Sparks, chair of the WSCC’s humanities department and a music instructor at the college. They will be performing arias by Donizetti, Verdi and Puccini, and songs by George Gershwin, Stephen Sondheim and others.
     

    April 10, 2014 2 Photos

  • Food page EASTER DINING: Decorating for the Easter table

    Easter is just around the corner and just happens to be one of my favorite holidays.

    April 10, 2014 2 Photos

  • WSCC Vest to perform.jpg Award-winning pianist to perform April 15 at Wallace State

    Lovers of classical piano can hear one of the best pianists in the state on Tuesday, April 15, as Katherine Vest is set to perform at Wallace State Community College.
    Vest is a junior piano performance major at Samford University and studies with Ron Shinn. She recently earned first place in the Alabama Federated Music Clubs Auditions and she previously won first prize in the Alabama Music Teacher’s Association and Birmingham Music Club auditions. At Samford, she is a recipient of the Miller-Shepherd scholarship for outstanding piano students.
     

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • CANDYLAND Pet of the week: Candyland needs a forever home

    Cullman County Animal Shelter Adoption hours are 9 – 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the shelter.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo