Beautifully Complicated: Taking Relationship Notes from "Silver Linings Playbook"

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This 2012 David O. Russell-directed flick, based on the novel of the same name by Matthew Quick, tells the story of a former teacher who, after spending four years in a mental institution, moves back in with his mother and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Bradley Cooper & Jennifer Lawrence star in the lead roles, with Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Julia Stiles, and Chris Tucker playing supporting parts.
Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company
December 3rd, 2012

Beautifully Complicated: Taking Relationship Notes from "Silver Linings Playbook"

-- In some romantic comedies, the chemistry between the characters just isn't there. While everyone loves a good laugh, it's hard to enjoy a film where two people are supposedly in love but their relationship doesn't seem natural. If the romance isn't believable, a romantic comedy is merely a barrel of laughs with two people awkwardly pretending to be in love. Thankfully, this is not an issue with "Silver Linings Playbook," the offbeat and hilarious tale of love between two troubled individuals.

"Silver Linings Playbook" tells the story of Pat Solitano, a complicated man trying to reassemble his life after an extended stay at a mental hospital. Dealing with bipolar disorder and facing the consequences of his past actions, Pat is desperate to get his life on track. He also wants to woo back his ex-wife, Nikki (Brea Bree), who previously filed a restraining order against him and fled. With his intense emotional outbursts and rants, Pat is difficult for anyone to love-even his parents.

Then, while at dinner with his friend Ronnie, Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), Ronnie's sister-in-law and a widow. Dressed from head to toe in black, shameless about her psychiatric prescriptions, and uncontrollably forward, Tiffany is dealing with her own problems. The pairing is a match made in movie heaven, and leads to laugh after laugh as the two begin an unconventional friendship.

Lawrence and Cooper have an unmistakable chemistry from the start. Their lines flow wonderfully and the two work together amazingly. Their body language is spot on and there is no overacting in sight. Their scenes together are very natural, adding a rough realness to the movie that allows audiences to get lost in the film and forget the outside world. The casting of the pair couldn't be better, and it makes "Silver Linings Playbook" the shining star of film that it is.

Lawrence and Cooper fit together the way that a movie couple should. This is no Adam Sandler movie pairing with an ordinary man dating a woman with supermodel good looks. One is not ridiculously wealthier than the other, nor is one substantially older. Both Pat and Tiffany are good-looking yet troubled adults trying to find their footing. This small detail of reality goes a long way.

Even after he meets Tiffany, Pat is unable to let go of his lost relationship with Nikki. He continues to wear his wedding ring and call himself married. Tiffany also wears her wedding ring, even though her husband is dead. The two openly discuss this and often state their attachments to their spouses, yet the audience can see they both want more than friendship from each other. Subtle hints at this unspoken desire add fuel to the chemistry fire.

As their friendship progresses, Tiffany asks Pat to be her partner in a dance competition. He agrees, and in turn she says she will deliver a note he has written to Nikki. While the two prepare for the competition, the chemistry begins to boil over. They exchange genuine laughs and each begins to feel protective of the other. Despite their feeling of being kindred spirits, the two do not hesitate to call each other crazy or point out flaws in a brutally honest way. This hilarious back-and-forth exchange adds a feeling of reality to the film that only makes the couple's chemistry more powerful.

As they spend more and more time together, Pat and Tiffany both begin to improve and find balance. With each shared laugh and exchange of smiles, they move away from their troubles and new horizons and possibilities open up. This evolution of attitude and outlook shows how much the two have done for each other and the way they have grown as individuals since their friendship began.

Pat and Tiffany's love in "Silver Linings Playbook" seems so authentic because both Lawrence and Cooper are unwaveringly believable in their roles. Both actors are incredibly well-known, yet they slip effortlessly into their roles. Audiences are able to separate them as actors from the characters they are playing, seeing Pat instead of Cooper and Tiffany instead of Lawrence. This is a difficult feat for many popular actors, but the two make it seem like a walk in the park. For a heartfelt and believable love story with laughs, check out "Silver Linings Playbook."