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'Silver Linings' is beautifully honest

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Obsessed with getting back together with his wife, Pat agrees to help Tiffany compete in a dance competition, in exchange for her delivering a letter to his wife. As they prepare for the competition, its obvious both of them are slowly drawn from their problems and learn to accept life and work through it together.

Playbook is truly a celebration of the characters within it, and each cast member is outstanding. Cooper, largely stuck in comedy roles thus far, shines as Pat. Hes totally convincing and Pat is wonderfully broken and painfully trying to piece himself back together. Its Coopers best performance to date.

Lawrence continues to rise, as she moved from teen-hero Katniss in The Hunger Games to a complex and enigmatic character in Playbook. Shes all grown-up here and shows that she will be around for many years to come. Tiffany flashes with moments of brilliant strength, vulnerability and always with a rush of emotion.

Supporting characters orbit Cooper and Lawrence, creating a phenomenal network of individuals, each with their own problems lying under normal facades, or obviously on display. De Niro is fantastic as Pats father. His Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a point of contention in the house, especially when his own conditions clash with Pats.

Between them is Pats mother Dolores (Jacki Weaver), who holds them together, rolls with the punches (sometimes literally) and gives the family a sometimes solid voice of reason, but always an unwavering source of love.

Popping in and out is a wonderful performance byChris Tuckeras Pats friend Danny, trying desperately to free himself from the psychiatric hospital where he met Pat. He escapes multiple times, is searching for legal ways out and looks for ways to cope with his anxiety and overcome medication addictions.

While the cast isnt necessarily star-studded as other films, each player gives an honest and authentic performance and Writer/DirectorDavid O. Russellcrafted a truly magnificent script, an adaptation ofMatthew Quicksnovel of the same title. Dialogue is phenomenal all around, and isnt filled with superfluous musings on addictions, depression and family.

Rather, each character is a real human being, who says real human things and deals with problems often violently and stupidly, but genuinely. The film proves that few, if any of us, have all our ducks in a row, and most have to deal with unbelievable struggles every day.

As Pat tells his therapist, I was white-knuckling it, trying to hold his disorder in and deal with it internally, without the help of others. Playbook shows how silly and pointless that is, and that the best cure for what ails us emotionally and mentally, is love, and the many forms it takes in life.

Silver Linings Playbook is a triumph.

Silver Linings Playbook is now playing in local theaters and is rated R, with a runtime of 122 minutes.

Patrick Hall may be contacted at

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