The film opens as Pat (Bradley Cooper) is released from a mental institution, diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and mood swings, following an incident 8 months earlier where he found his wife cheating on him and nearly beat the man she was with to death- to be fair, who wouldn’t at least think of doing the same? Pat’s mother (Jacki Weaver) is a kind-hearted woman who’s used to this kind of explosive behaviour, because she’s married to Pat. Sr. (Robert De Niro), a man so engrossed in the Philadelphia Eagles that he’s been banned from the stadium for fighting, and he believes that a number of rituals must be fulfilled to help the birds win. Pat’s only order of business is a devotion to repair his marriage, despite a restraining order his wife has placed against him. His father keeps reminding him that his marriage is over, she sold the house and left, probably with the history teacher she was having an affair with. But Pat remains persistent, he takes all the negativity and turns it into a positive drive forward, he’s surprisingly optimistic for a man in his position, which is something we admire about Pat, yet at the same time we want him to move on.
At this stage Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) at a dinner with his friends. Tiffany is a young and beautiful widow, once a cop’s wife. She’s been labelled as a slut, and to an extent she agrees. She’s just as damaged and crazy as Pat, and the two immediately find a unique chemistry in the lack of normal social skills and the history of psycho-pharmaceuticals. Tiffany keeps following Pat while he runs, persistently pestering him until they slowly become friends. In exchange for sneaking a letter to his wife, Pat agrees to dance with Tiffany at a dancing tournament that Christmas in an upscale Philadelphia hotel. Through their continuous interactions and dance practices, Pat and Tiffany grow close, and Pat begins to find something to commit himself to, which helps calm his disorder. His father is weary of this new friendship as he thinks that Pat should spend more time with him – both as a father and as a superstitious sports fan.
Jennifer Lawrence is wonderful as Tiffany, a brash girl with beauty and charm, but a veil of emotional distance covering her true self. Bradley Cooper is fantastic as Pat Jr., and Robert De Niro once again has a role that shows he’s still got the Oscar-magnitude talent he showcased over and over again for decades. Co-stars Jacki Weaver and Chris Tucker are also a delight to have as part of this ensemble, and each brings a distinctly different character to the film. Showcasing warm-hearted talent and emotionality, David O. Russell’s latest film Silver Linings Playbook is a great little piece of filmmaking.