Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Oscar gold for 'Silver Linings'?

"Silver Linings Playbook," the Philly-centric dramedy starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, wows Toronto Film Festival audiences and press and industry crowds. The Weinstein Company has a seriously funny hit on its hands.

Oscar gold for 'Silver Linings'?

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Saw Silver Linings Playbook Sunday morning: David O. Russell’s adrenalized adaptation of Matthew Quick’s novel about a guy with bipolar disorder (Bradley Cooper), released from the psych ward and sent home to his parents’ house to try to get his life back together-- and to reconcile with his wife, who has left him. And left him with a broken heart and a restraining order.

Robert DeNiro and Oscar-nominee Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom) are Dad and Mom, and this is the best stuff DeNiro has done in ages. And then there’s Jennifer Lawrence, showing the fierceness and finesse on display in her breakout Winter’s Bone, but more so. Her character, like Cooper’s, is a head case, and the no filters back-and-forth between them is exhilarating.

And then there is Philly, and the Eagles. Shot all around town (Ridley Park, Upper Darby, Jeweler’s Row, the tailgate-crazy parking lot at the Linc), Silver Linings Playbook hinges, emotionally and narratively, on the win/loss record of the team's season. Cooper wears a DeSean Jackson jersey on his first meetup with Lawrence, and DeNiro sports an Eagles sweater and keeps an Eagles kerchief, freshly ironed and folded just-so, on the couch during game time for good luck. I've heard that the NFL wouldn’t sign off on Silver Linings Playbook because it depicts gambling – elaborate spreads and parlays – but if that's so, the League is about the only group of people that aren’t going to endorse this emotionally raw, raucous film.

The Toronto International Film Festival gala premiere won a standing O, the P & I capacity audience applauded mightily, and people were buzzing about the film for the rest of the day. Silver Linings Handbook is set to open Nov. 21. Excelsior!

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Praise for 'Silver Linings'
Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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About this blog

Steven Rea has been an Inquirer movie critic since 1992. He was born in London, raised in New York City, and has lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Iowa City, Iowa. His column, "On Movies," appears Sundays in Arts & Entertainment, his reviews appear in the Weekend section on Fridays. He is a member of the National Society of Film Critics.

Read his most recent columns and reviews, here. He is the author of the book “Hollywood Rides a Bike,” and also curates the movie stars and bicycling photo blog, Rides A Bike.

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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