When someone mentions Jennifer Lawrence, a fiery mocking jay and a girl who knows how to shoot a bow and arrow comes to mind. When someone mentions Bradley Cooper a hot middle-school teacher who spends his weekends in Vegas losing his best friend might be what appears. Wel,l put all those images aside. The roles that Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper play in the new film, Silver Linings Playbook, will contradict any preconception of these two mainstream actors that may exist.
Meet Pat, (Bradley Cooper) who has recently been released from a mental institution and battles with bipolar disorder. Unable to filter anything he says or does, Pat faces the challenges of day-to-day life post mental institution while living with his parents who are obsessed with the Philadelphia Eagles. He strives to better himself in hopes of getting back together with his wife Nikki who issued a restraining order against him after a physically violent episode that escalated between the two.
Enter Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a widowed, recovering sex addict dealing with the recent death of her husband and healthy ways to cope with it. Pat and Tiffany meet through mutual friends and a non-traditional friendship of sorts is developed, occurring from the mutual “craziness” that each possesses. When Pat realizes he can connect to his wife Nikki through Tiffany, he asks Tiffany to deliver a letter to her, but in return, Tiffany makes Pat become his dance partner for an upcoming dance competition. Tiffany ends up typing up a reply from Nikki and gives it to Pat, manipulating Pat’s motives to be her dance partner, all escalating to the final scene of the movie.
Through the combination of Tiffany’s scandalously low-cut tops, extensive touching, invasion of personal space, and sweaty bodies, the two predictably develop feelings for each other in preparing for their upcoming dance competition. While this film still has its cliché “boy running after girl” final scene, it is certainly not your typical romantic comedy-drama in that everyone in this movie is actually nuts. Well labeled as a love story, this film dives deep into American family dynamics and dealing daily with a mental illness. Pat has what seems like a hundred different strands of relationships he’s working on with the people around him, and yet, they still all intertwine miraculously.
Jennifer Lawrence deserved the Golden Globe for best actress that she received as she portrayed a clearly crazy, coping, unstable woman who has some serious issues to work through. Bradley Cooper plays a dangerously realistic interpretation of a man suffering with bi-polar disorder and excels brilliantly at it. Robert DeNiro, although only in a supporting role, delivers a fatherly performance channeled through some of his own crazy OCD mannerisms. The result of all of these performances is stunning and quite humorous. It is a movie worth seeing. Audiences everywhere will enjoy this film as it uncovers the little bits of crazy that all Americans and all American families possess.