Sunday, January 27, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook Mini-Review

On Friday my wife and I saw Silver Linings Playbook, the Oscar-nominated film starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. It's a good movie, well-constructed, well-acted, not quite a romantic comedy but not so heavy as to be a full-on drama. Typical Hollywood ending.

But what I thought was interesting was that the climax of the movie involves the furtherance of a criminal enterprise. That's spelled out pretty explicitly, but no one in the film seems to notice or care. The father, played by Robert de Niro, has lost his pension and started a bookmaking "business", which is, of course, illegal. To hide his profits he wants to start a restaurant, through which he can funnel his illegal earnings.

His son Pat, played by Cooper, can help his father win a bet (itself, ahem, illegal) in order to obtain the capital needed to open the restaurant. Spoiler alert: they do win, and Cooper gets the girl and his father gets his restaurant. Which, we couldn't help but notice, is the front for his bookmaking operation.

The reason this is so very odd is that the story revolves around Pat's difficulties with the law. He has just come out of a court-ordered stay at a mental institution after beating his wife's lover nearly to death. Needless to say, Pat figures out a way to control himself and stay on the right side of the law. Except... does he? He ends up being an accessory to a crime, or at least enabling his father to commit one.

I suppose we aren't supposed to worry about such things, but it struck me as strange. The family could easily have had some other, less illegal, form of financial hardship. In any case, the circumstances detract only a bit from an enjoyable, if hardly profound, movie.


  1. This movie makes one feel happy about onself and the people around you..:) great movie...

  2. I really liked this one too … and I've been a David O. Russell fan since Flirting with Disaster. You never know what to expect with his movies but that they will be off-kilter.