Pat (Smokin Bradley Cooper) returns from a mental institution where he’s been incarcerated for going apeshit on his wife’s lover. Back in his parents’ home, he’s obsessed with proving to the world that he has got his life back together and that it’s just a matter of time before he gets his wife back too. What is obvious to everyone is that he’s not only completely and dangerously delusional and still very unnwell, but that his Dad is the poster child for mental instability himself, and unlikely to provide any of the kind of nurturing safe-haven that Pat needs. Into this heady mix comes another damaged individual, a young widow called Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) who falls for Pat hard as they prepare for an amateur dance contest.
So, let me say upfront, that I am probably the only person you’ll ever meet who was profoundly and deeply dissatisfied by Silver Linings Playbook. Not by the storyline itself, which is well told and entertaining enough. But I just could not get over how dreadfully, terribly miscast Jennifer Lawrence was; she was completely and utterly implausible as the damaged, outspoken, self-aware widow. Don’t get me wrong, her performance was great. But it felt like she was giving it in a completely different film. There’s one scene where she takes control of a room full of old men, and harangues Robert de Niro, and it’s like everyone on set is acting, acting, acting, that she’s some smart, mature woman, not an uppity teenager with messy hair. It was strikingly jarring, and I was never able to suspend my disbelief. It still makes me angry, just thinking about it.