The New York Times reviews Silver Linings Playbook
“Silver Linings Playbook,” the exuberant new movie from David O. Russell, does almost everything right. The story tracks the feverish, happy, sad, absurdly funny ups and downs of a head case named Pat Solatano, played by a surprisingly effective, intensely focused Bradley Cooper, just as he returns to his parents’ home after eight months in a mental institution. Pat had been put away for a scarily violent crime, but now, having shed fat and the defense it offered him, and feeding on the shiny philosophy of the title instead, he feels ready to tackle the world. The world may not be ready.
What the world is — at least, as it’s personified by the family and friends zigzagging through the movie fielding jokes, confessing fears and tightly holding onto a man who nearly spun into the void — is welcoming, accepting, loving. “Silver Linings Playbook” is an outright comedy, but like Pat, it’s a bipolar one that swings between passionate highs and intentionally painful lows. When Pat’s mother, Dolores (a sensational Jacki Weaver), brings him home from the asylum— briefly accompanied by his pal in kookiness, Danny (Chris Tucker) — her husband, Pat Sr. (a moving Robert De Niro), complains that she didn’t tell him about springing their son. Dolores, her Kewpie Doll eyes darting with animal panic, responds the only way any loving mother and wife could: “It’s all under control.”
It isn’t, and not by a long shot, at least as far as these characters are concerned. Mr. Russell, on the other hand, a virtuoso of chaos, has supreme command over a movie that regularly feels as if it’s teetering on the edge of hysteria, in respect to the characters and director both. But Mr. Russell doesn’t just choreograph bedlam, he also tames it, and worrying that it might all go kablooey with one shout too many is one of the pleasures of his work, which includes films like the aptly titled “Flirting With Disaster.” Like a singer who quavers tauntingly, thrillingly close to going off-key, Mr. Russell never loses control. Watching him pull back from the brink can be a delight.
Full review here