For those of you who are too jaded to enjoy a good romantic comedy, stop reading now. If you like a by the numbers romance, go elsewhere for your entertainment, and if you are expecting happy endings in life, maybe this isn’t the film for you (or maybe, just maybe, it is).
Director David O. Russell’s follow up to The Fighter is the exquisitely funny and uniquely conceived romantic comedy Silver Linings Playbook. It tells the story of former teacher Pat Solitano (a smashing Bradley Cooper) and his relationship with Tiffany (always outstanding Jennifer Lawrence), as they find a way to connect in the hopelessness of loss and despair.
Pat is a bipolar fellow who has just been released from a mental institution where he was sent after severely beating the man whom he caught having sex in the shower with his wife Nikki (Brea Bee), while their wedding song ("My Cherie Amour” by Stevie Wonder) was playing on the stereo. Nikki has a restraining order but that doesn’t stop Pat from wanting to see her and get back with her, but she has moved away and there is seemingly no way to connect with her again.
Enter Tiffany, a young widow who lost her police officer husband in a traffic accident. Tiffany handled her grief by becoming a nymphomaniac, and half of the town seems to be texting her for an encounter. She is trying to stop this behavior when she meets Pat at her sister’s house, and they start to form a stilted kind of friendship based on a love of jogging around the neighborhood.
Pat has moved back home to the suburbs of Philadelphia to live with his parents Pat and Dolores (Robert DeNiro and Jackie Weaver). These people are dealing with their own issues because the senior Pat has lost his job and is working as a bookmaker, with a goal to raise enough money to open a restaurant. Pat sleeps in his old room and reads A Farewell to Arms voraciously to the last page, and then reacts so violently to the ending that he throws the book through the bedroom window (Hemingway sometimes has a way of doing that to you).