Movies: Silver Linings Playbook

You know that whole class of movies about dance competitions? Despite all the dramatic window dressing, Silver Linings Playbook is one of those. Except instead of delinquent high schoolers or people trying to overcome some kind of physical handicap, the dancers in this movie have mental and emotional problems. But any way you slice it, dancing = therapy in this genre of film.

The movie stars Bradley Cooper (who will always be, first and foremost in my mind at least, Will from Alias) as Pat, who after serving eight months in a mental institution is allowed to go home and live with his parents so long as he takes his meds, attends regular therapy sessions, and obeys a restraining order meant to keep him away from his wife Nikki. Why? Because his mental breakdown stems from finding Nikki in the shower with another man—a man Pat then proceeded to beat nearly to death. I have difficulty faulting Pat for this, and even greater difficulty faulting him for his homicidal reaction to Stevie Wonder's "Ma Cherie Amour," though our reasons for hating the song differ.

Anyway, Pat is out and focused on a single goal: winning Nikki back.

From there we go into Pat meeting Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), someone as screwed up and crazy as he is . . . Well, long story short, they end up in a dance competition and fall in love Hollywood style. Pretty cliché.

I also had a teeny problem with how obvious it was that Tiffany was lying to Pat about a particular plot point, but perhaps this was designed to illuminate Pat's delusional nature more than trying to fool the viewer. I certainly hope so because they sucked at trying to make me believe [this device].

All that said, Silver Linings Playbook is a good movie. I enjoyed it. I'd give it a solid four stars, maybe even 4.25. I have to take away some partial points for first using an exchange and then a bet as the major turning points, and also for the Hollywood ending. But on the whole a very satisfying piece of entertainment.

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