Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Main Menu Animation
Featurette-Making Of-The Movie That Became A Movement
Trailer-Playing For Keeps
|Year Of Production||2012|
|Running Time||117:08 (Case: 122)|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||David O. Russell|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Robert De Niro
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
There aren't many romantic comedies with substance, but this is one of them. For most of the time Silver Linings Playbook is neither funny nor romantic. What it is however is an exploration of mental illness and human relations that is scary and amusing and touching. Add a stellar cast in top form and you have easily the best film of 2012, despite what the "Academy" thinks. David O. Russell's brilliant adaptation of a novel written by Matthew Quick has intricate characters who are lovable despite being flawed, stirs emotions relentlessly without becoming uncomfortable, and yet manages to confront and entertain at the same time. This is one of the few movies, let alone "rom-coms", that demand further viewings.
Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper) has been released from a mental hospital after treatment for bipolar mood swings. He had been committed following the violent beating of his wife Nikki's lover after he caught them together. Although he realises he is unwell, the medications that are prescribed to control his moods are ignored and the slightest reminder of his unfaithful wife brings irrational fits of rage. He is however obsessed with reuniting with Nikki, and feels sure that if he can contact her despite a restraining order they can be reconciled. Pat returns to his parent's home where mother Dolores (Jacki Weaver), and father Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro), try their best to keep Pat under control despite his bizarre behaviour. In between mood swings Pat believes that the silver lining in his dark life is there to be found, and that "one incident can change a lifetime". That one incident occurs during a dinner party at his best friend Ronnie's (John Ortiz) house. One of the dinner party guests is a young widow Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), who has similar demons and a burning anger. Despite the dinner being a disaster Pat becomes intrigued with Tiffany although her bluntness, impulsiveness and promiscuity both repels and attracts him.
The Solatano household is a Philadelphia Eagles football team stronghold, where the semi-retired Pat Sr. worships the Eagles as a religion. Pat Sr. is making money on the side through football gambling and book-making, and is compulsively obsessed with maintaining superstitious custom and order in the house. The return of Pat Jr. upsets the house symmetry, but Pat Sr. hopes that his son can be helped by immersing him back into the family routines. A violent confrontation between Pat Jr. and his parents jolts him into recommencing his medication, but the obsession with Nikki remains. On discovering that Tiffany has access to Nikki via her sister Veronica, Pat begins jogging past Tiffany's house to manufacture encounters as Tiffany is also a keen jogger. Tiffany agrees to help Pat in his desire for Nikki's attention, but she wants something in return. Tiffany needs a partner for a dance competition and Pat is coerced into training with her for the event. Despite initial reservations the Solatano parents come to like Tiffany, with Pat Sr. especially impressed with the girl's knowledge of football. A clash of dates however means Pat has to make choices between his agreement with Tiffany, and the bond with his father
That Silver Lining Playbook works so well is a credit to the writing and direction of David O. Russell and the outstanding talents of the cast he has brought together. Cooper is outstanding as the wild eyed Pat Jr., but Lawrence absolutely steals the show as the gorgeous but damaged Tiffany. When they are together the chemistry is magnetic, and you so much want them to heal their souls. Lawrence well deserved her "Oscar" gong with a performance that was brazen, confronting, sexy, but vulnerable. As supporting actors De Niro and Weaver were also outstanding. De Niro does acting as no one else can – managing to convey subtleties of emotion and humour without seeming to do much at all. Although Weaver doesn't actually say much, the way she conveys emotion through her face and eyes was perfect. She and De Niro worked so well together you could easily imagine them as a long and loving married couple. Pat's therapist Dr. Patel (Anupam Kher), and friend from the mental institution Danny (Chris Tucker), were also fabulous, with Tucker especially effective and hilarious as the inmate with escape issues responsible for "blackin' it up" on the dance floor.
What possibly intrigued me most about this film is the way Russell managed to simultaneously inject both humour and distress into scenes such as the fight in the attic and the game-day argument. How these potentially confronting scenes could also be humorous is both a credit to his direction, and the skills of his actors. The soundtrack using classic and pop songs also complements the moods so well. For example check out the way that the Led Zeppelin classic What Is and What Should Never Be is used.
I have no idea whether this film portrays the complexity of bipolar disorder accurately, but nevertheless as an exposure to mental illness it is very effective. If I have any criticism at all of this movie then perhaps the ending would be it. It is a "rom-com" after all, but I thought the ends came together a bit too satisfactorily. The dance event scene was also a bit too Saturday Night Fever, and you can't miss the Tony Manero/Stephanie moment. SNF lovers will recognise it immediately. Given that SNF is my favourite "dance" movie of all time, then I'll count that as a homage and not a detraction. But for the formulaic ending Silver Lining Playbook would have received my maximum rating. It does however deserve an almost perfect score nevertheless, and is a must see film.
The Australian Blu-ray disc has been reviewed on this site here.
The video is presented in anaphorphically enhanced 2.40:1 widescreen which is slightly narrower than the 2.35:1 cinematic aspect. The detail is pleasingly sharp for standard definition with only touches of softness and grain to complain about. There was evidence of compression artefacts and crushed blacks during the external night-time scene. There is also noticeable edge enhancement in the therapist’s office background (at around 12:00 for example). The only other artefact of note was mosquito noise around the closing credits. Other than that contrast and colour accuracy was good, with skin tones natural.
A Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track encoded at 448 Kb/s is the default. There is also an English and English descriptive for the visually impaired track - both Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 224 Kb/s. There is not much in the way of surround or subwoofer effects, but then this is a dialogue driven movie. During the numerous musical interludes the 5.1 mix really comes into its own however, and the subtle score by Danny Elfman is also effective. Dialogue is always easy to understand, even during the argumentative scenes. Lip synchronisation is problem free. All in all this audio presentation is nothing special but it is effective.
|Surround Channel Use|
Animated menu with audio.
Occurring on start-up before the main menu:
Safe Haven (2:12) - Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kb/s.
Beautiful Creatures (1:41) - Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kb/s.
Playing For Keeps (2:17) - Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kb/s.
Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kb/s. Behind the scenes look at the author's motives for writing the original novel, and some discussion of mental health issues. Includes interviews with the director, producer and cast, with serious commentary from mental health authorities including celebrity doctor Dr Mehmet Oz. Some of the interview footage is not great quality with unnatural colours and minor synchronisation issues.
Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kb/s. E-A-G-L-E-S, DeSean Jackson Jersey, "Young at Heart", New Owners, Walk Like A Man, Ronnie's & Veronica's Kitchen, Apologies, I Hate Football & Danny's Out, Stretching Exercises, "Let's Dance", Sitting in the Craziness, Don't Spike the Ball at the One-Yard-Line, Trying to Nail the Big Move, Pat Jr. & Pat Sr. in the Car, Ganesh and It looked Just Like Nikki.
Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kb/s. More of a deleted scene than an alternate ending. I found it amusing and preferred it over the theatrical version.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Silver Linings Playbook is available on Blu-ray and DVD in Region 1. Special features in Region 1 have the addition of Dance Rehearsal, and Going Steadicam With Bradley Cooper. There are also Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy combos available.
Silver Linings Playbook is a gem of a film. Although classed as a romantic comedy, this movie contains far more depth and covers difficult issues in a skilled and sensitive way. Humour and distress is melded together seamlessly, with the superb ensemble of actors carrying it off flawlessly. Buy it.
The video quality is very good.
The audio quality is very good.
The extras are good.
|DVD||Cambridge Audio 751bd, using HDMI output|
|Display||Panasonic TH-58PZ850A. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).|
|Amplification||denon AVR-4311 pre-out to Elektra Theatron 7 channel amp|
|Speakers||B&W LCR600 centre and 603s3 mains, Niles in ceiling surrounds, SVS PC-Ultra Sub, Definitive Technology Supercube II Sub|