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Silver Linings Playbook 

★ ★ ★ ★ 1/2

Starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Tucker, Robert Deniro and Jackie Weaver. Directed by David O. Russell. Produced by Bruce Cohen, Bradley Cooper, Donna Gigliotti, Jonathan Gordon, Mark Kamine, George Parra, Bob Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein.

It's difficult to decide what Silver Linings Playbook's strong suit is. Not only does it sufficiently quench our thirst for a fairy tale romance, it delves into the heads of its emotionally-challenged characters and cleverly harmonizes their self-actualization and changing perspectives. Not to mention, it's protagonists, Pat and Tiffany, are memorable quirky characters that we fall in love with right off the bat and form a connection that only grows stronger with each ridiculous thing they do together.

Pat is a middle-aged bipolar man who's recently been released from his court-ordered stay in a mental hospital for becoming violent with his wife's lover. He stays with his parents in Philadelphia, where he intends to get his life together and win his wife back, when he meets the young and freshly-widowed Tiffany. After getting over their initial hate for each other, they set out to help each other acheive their respective goals, forming an unexpected romance and completely flip-flopping the world around them.

As a blood-boiling deluded narcissist, Cooper is wonderful, never overdoing it and letting most of the high-energy come from Lawrence's domineering character. It was said in the early stages of production that Russell's favorite leading man and close personal friend, Mark Wahlberg, would be playing Pat, but was eventually pushed aside for Cooper, giving him the opportunity to finally showcase his acting ability. For once, his character has depth and we can say he's something more than just the 'nice guy' – he handles his character's ups and downs realistically and with grace, making it hard to believe that anyone else was considered for this role.

Of course, Cooper's performance would be severely stunted without Lawrence's talented timing and layered performance that makes her as loveable as she is irritating and pushes life and energy throughout the story. We actually see their relationship form and understand their connection to one another – they don't just become inseparable overnight, making this a romance that's more on par with classics like When Harry Met Sally and Annie Hall than moderns like The Vow or The Notebook.



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