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Silver Linings Playbook poster: © 2012 The Weinstein Company.

Release Date: Nov. 21, 2012 || Rated: R || Running Time: 122 minutes

It doesn’t happen often, but every now and then life spawns two people who are so completely right for each other that they could only be wrong for everyone else. Such is the case of Pat (Bradley Cooper) and Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) in David O. Russell‘s Silver Linings Playbook. Luckily for us, it is not only the characters that share this special affinity: Cooper and Lawrence are perfectly-balanced counterparts in this dark-yet-oddly-uplifting dramedy.

Adapted by Russell from Matthew Quick‘s novel of the same name, Silver Linings Playbook stars Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De NiroJacki Weaver, and Chris Tucker, with supporting performances by Anupam KherJohn OrtizShea WhighamDash Mihok, Brea Bee, and Julia Stiles.

© 2012 The Weinstein Company

Cooper delivers an incredibly touching and riotous performance, as a tactless man struggling to get his life in order after an incident that wrecked his marriage and earned him eight months in a state mental facility. Each pang of frustration, anger, and desperation shows clearly through his subtle-but-telling facial expressions and physical movements. Even Cooper’s manic moments—reminiscent of his famously funny Wedding Crashers dock scene—maintain a looming sense of darkness that prove his understanding of the character and true emotional agility.

Lawrence shines as Tiffany, a young widow wrestling with the circumstances of her husband’s death. Her impressive energy and magnificent fierceness of spirit allows Lawrence to go head-to-head with Cooper, De Niro, and anyone else who gets in her way. Lawrence’s performance is sure to be oft cited as evidence that age never dictated the maturity of her craft.

Whether speaking, screaming, or dancing, every moment Cooper and Lawrence share is absolutely enchanting. Their electric chemistry, fueled by a mutual ability to match each other beat-for-beat, is both stunning and hilarious to behold. Few actors could make the stark frankness of Silver Linings Playbook laugh-out-loud funny, but Cooper and Lawrence succeed with apparent ease and grace.

© 2012 The Weinstein Company

De Niro and Weaver excel in their portrayal of Pat’s parents, well-meaning folks who exemplify the reality that the difficulty and destruction wrought by emotional disorder is rarely suffered by one individual alone. Each outstandingly executes a wide range of sentiments, from responding to Pat’s late-night outbursts with loving care and sarcasm, to a desperate need to help their son and the distress that results from not quite understanding how to do so.

Not content to let Cooper have a monopoly on outbursts, De Niro’s emotional storms match Cooper’s in intensity and passion. As an added bonus, these moments help the audience empathize with Cooper’s plight. By providing a sense of the nature that Cooper must overcome, De Niro shows how powerful a foe nature can be and emphasizes the extreme difficulty of Cooper’s struggle to seek out life’s precious silver linings by staying positive.

© 2012 The Weinstein Company

Tucker is delightful as Danny, a fellow state hospital inmate and friend of Pat’s. His comic appearances throughout the story punctuate the film’s darkness and provide a friendly reminder that, even in the toughest times, some things are still funny and should be laughed about.

One of the best films of 2012, Silver Linings Playbook is simply not to be missed.

Silver Linings Playbook will be released in select cities on Friday, November 16.

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The Author

Sarah Katz

Sarah Katz

Born-and-bred New Yorker. Lifelong film & TV lover—from chick flicks, rom-coms, rom-droms, rom-drams, and tweentertainment, to Shakespeare, period pieces, James Bond, fairy tales, and mafia movies.