Movie review: Silver Linings Playbook

From the November 22, 2012 edition

‘Tis the season for family dysfunction. The movie theater is the perfect place to escape it or embrace it.

“Silver Linings Playbook” is a dysfunctional little gem of a film, and one that thankfully stays off the meds.

Phildelphia teacher Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) returns home after a stint in a mental institution — and “home” means he’s living with his parents (Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver).

Armed with a new positive outlook, Pat aims to get his life back together in an effort to win back his wife. His complicated life is then complicated by Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a young widow with her own set of issues.

Grinches gonna grinch, but I fell hard for this movie. Director David O. Russell (“The Fighter,” “I Heart Huckabees”) adapted a novel by Matthew Quick into his most endearing movie yet, and possibly his best.

Performances are all stellar, particularly Lawrence who could be in line for another Oscar nod. She’s as good a young actress as you’ll find these days.

“Playbook” doesn’t always go where you expect, but in the end, it lands all warm and bubbly in a crowd-pleasing comedy that feels like a throwback. It’s your best bet this weekend and one of the best of the year.