Few Silver Linings in this average rom-com

Steve Dinneen
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Cert 15

It’s refreshing to have a mainstream movie with mental illness as its central tenet, especially when Hollywood’s usual treatment of the issue amounts to little more than: “Look! a crazy person! Aren’t they funny!” (Me, Myself and Irene springs to mind).

At its best, Silver Linings Playbook is a wryly amusing look at how mental illness can bleed into every aspect of your life. At its worst, though, it veers dangerously close to “let’s laugh at the crazies” territory.

It’s all a little bit too neat – protagonist Pat (Bradley Cooper from The Hangover) acts like THIS because of THIS. Love interest Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence from The Hunger Games) acts like THIS because of THIS, etcetera etcetera. They naturally gravitate towards each other, just like, you know, crazy people do. Probably. They also appear to “cure” each other of their deeply ingrained insecurities, which feels like a gigantic cop-out for a film that seems to pride itself on its “right-on” credentials.

Mental illness aside, the plot is pretty standard rom-com stuff. Girl meets boy, girl falls out with boy, girl hopes to heal rift with boy through the power of contemporary dance.

Strong supporting performances by Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver lift matters somewhat but Silver Linings Playbook remains a movie that promises far more than it ends up delivering.