Holiday Flicks: Is ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ the Best Film Bradley Cooper Will Ever Make?

We bring you your regular weekend movie roundup on Wednesday, to help you make those crucial post-Thanksgiving moviegoing decisions.

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Silver Linings Playbook

Adapted from Matthew Quick’s 2008 novel, Silver Linings Playbook takes in subject matter such as mental illness, marital failure and football, and has some serious buzz thanks to director David O. Russell and his leads Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. Lawrence plays the widow Tiffany, a self-described “crazy slut with a dead husband,” who strikes up a curious friendship with Pat (Cooper), recently released from a mental institution. Rounding out a very solid cast as Pat’s parents are Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver.

Lawrence has become the early front-runner to win Best Actress at next year’s Oscars (TIME’s Richard Corliss notes that “The performances of these actors are reason enough to go. The reason to stay is Lawrence.”) and it certainly seems like the role of a lifetime. In the words of Variety, Lawrence “is a marvelously unstable element, daring Pat to judge her for her own past misdeeds, though she has no qualms about cutting through his defenses and attacking what she sees or doesn’t see in him.” The rest of the movie isn’t too shabby either: “In a script that never lapses into mundane or uninteresting language, the scenes between Pat and Tiffany are sculpted with an almost David Mamet-like sharpness, amplified onscreen by the intimacy and focus of Russell’s direction and the superbly harmonized lead performances,” Variety writes. The Hollywood Reporter takes a similar line, revealing that “this is a film as odd as it is charming. It brings out the best in a superlative cast led by Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, both showing unexpected colors.” And returning to our Mr. Corliss, he just can’t get enough of the leading lady: “Just 21 when the movie was shot, Lawrence is that rare young actress who plays, who is, grown-up. Sullen and sultry, she lends a mature intelligence to any role.” And this role might just end up resulting in a little gold statuette.

Q&A: Bradley Cooper and David O. Russell

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