When Oscar time rolls around every year I try my best to get to see at least the Best Picture nominees in the theatre, but with the category expanded up to 10 films, it is increasingly difficult. For this year’s awards I did pretty good, but one of the most talked about films, Silver Linings Playbook, I did not get around to. Which was too bad because I am a big fan of both Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, not to mention Robert DeNiro and Jacki Weaver. But one thing that kept me cautious about the film was all the talk about its themes of mental illness. I couldn’t quite tell from the trailers if it was a comedy, a romance, or a drama about mental illness issues. So now that it is hitting Blu-ray, it’s time to find out for myself.
Pat (Cooper) spent eight months by court order in a Maryland mental health hospital. When he had discovered his wife cheating on him, he had beaten her lover and after being arrested and examined, he was found to have bi-polar disorder. Now discharged by his mother Dolores (Jacki Weaver) and living at home with her and his father Pat Sr. (DeNiro), Pat is having trouble coping as he is pre-occupied with winning back his wife who has moved on. Through friends Pat meets Tiffany (Lawrence) who is struggling with many of the same problems as Pat. With a mutual agreement to help each other out, Pat and Tiffany start forming a relationship which may change both of their worlds.
When Silver Linings Playbook started out, I thought I was going to be in for the mental illness movie I had heard of, but before long I found myself laughing quite a bit and getting quite involved in the lives of all the characters. And suddenly the movie became not about mental illness but about regular people trying to deal with their problems and their lives. It wasn’t about the illness it was just about the kinds of things we all struggle with in trying to get through each day. And I found myself really falling for every character on screen; they all had aspects of them that I identified with. And the screenplay by David O. Russell based on the novel by Matthew Quick was also something else I didn’t expect. Sweet. Among other things, Silver Linings Playbook is also a very sweet love story about people finding each other amidst our crazy world. But it never really descends into typical romantic comedy territory instead always retaining an authentic baseline that it confidently sticks to. I was very surprised how much I liked the movie and how different it was from all the preconceived versions of it I had taken in before I saw it.
The Blu-ray from Alliance/eOne is another beautiful example of how a drama/comedy can shine as much as an action flick. Colors are bold and natural, detail is amazing and clarity never falters. This is not a film that jumps out and hits you in the face, but as you watch it you will slowly notice just how nice the transfer is. An exceptional transfer of an exceptional film.
Available April 30, 2013 on Blu-ray and DVD.