After catching his wife having an affair, Pat (Bradley Cooper) beats the other man to within an inch of his life, and is promptly locked up in a mental institute for eight months having been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. Once he has served his time, his mother (Jacki Weaver) allows him to come home to live with her and his father (Robert DeNiro) on the condition that he continues going to his therapy sessions and taking his medication, both of which he hates with a passion. Along the way, he crosses paths with Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a recently widowed young woman who deals with her pain by having sex with pretty much everyone she meets. Will this damaged pair help each other to rebuild their lives or tear themselves to pieces?
At its core, Silver Linings Playbook is just another rom-dram with a few little tweaks. The central characters are dealing with severe psychological issues and are played by hugely likable actors at the top of their game. It is nice to see Bradley Cooper doing more than merely leaning on his good looks and charm. This time around he brings edgy energy and genuine depth that we haven’t seen from him since he hit the big time. But Jennifer Lawrence steals his thunder. She’s an absolute live wire who lights up the movie every time she appears on screen, adding another notch to her already impressive CV. These two are joined by a return-to-form De Niro and a heart-warming Weaver with further fantastic support coming from Julia Stiles, Anupam Kher and Chris Tucker.
Writer/director David O. Russell's last movie The Fighter went on to win a couple of Oscars, but despite the glowing reception it has received Stateside, it is difficult to imagine Silver Linings Playbook following suit. While it is by and large well-made and well-told, this is yet another slightly crazy boy-meets-slightly crazy girl love story that doesn’t really have anything new to say.