Blu-ray Review: Oscar-Winning Crowd-Pleaser ‘Silver Linings Playbook’

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CHICAGO – They often say that a movie is written three times - on paper, on film, and in the editing bay. Look no further for this truth than the deleted scenes from “Silver Linings Playbook,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD. While some of the scenes are fun and allow Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert De Niro more chances to shine, I would argue that all 26 minutes of them were correctly cut. If they hadn’t been, the movie’s not an Oscar winner. Blu-ray rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

While that may sound extreme, the success of a film like “SLP” is so reliant on pacing and the rhythm of its characters that if it had felt repetitive, as it clearly would have with these scenes intact, it wouldn’t have been nearly as successful overall. It’s amazing how many of the deleted scenes are basically just variations on beats already hit in the film. Pat reads “Cuckoo’s Nest” and hates the ending. His dad wants him to stay and watch a game with him for good luck. There’s more dance rehearsal. There’s a sweet moment between Weaver & De Niro in which the pair sings but that’s the only thing in here I *might* have kept despite good work by everyone involved, especially Cooper.

As for other special features, there’s a somewhat bizarre documentary that argues that “the movie became a movement” and places too strong an emphasis on the way it deals with mental illness, even including interviews with non-directly-involved people like Dr. Oz. Personally, I think “SLP” kind of glosses over some of the serious issues of mental illness, especially in how neatly it wraps everything up in a bow with little indication that people who fight mental illness do so for their entire lives, and so the documentary kind of rubs me the wrong way.

As for the movie itself, I think no other highly acclaimed 2012 film suffers from repeat viewing like this one. Don’t get me wrong. I like “SLP.” The cast is great, especially De Niro & Cooper, and the dialogue is smart and crisp. The problem comes with some of the simplicity of the plotting and the contrivance of the romance. It’s a good movie and I think we were swept away by a brilliant marketing/Oscar campaign by the Weinsteins into being convinced it was great.

Silver Linings Playbook was released on Blu-ray and DVD on April 30, 2013
Silver Linings Playbook was released on Blu-ray and DVD on April 30, 2013
Photo credit: The Weinstein Company

Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper) has lost everything - his house, his job and his wife. He finds himself living back with his mother (Jacki Weaver) and father (Robert De Niro) after spending 8 months in a state institution on a plea bargain. While rebuilding his life, Pat is determined to remain positive and reunite with his wife despite the challenging circumstances of their separation. When Pat meets Tiffany (Academy Award Winner, Jennifer Lawrence), a mysterious girl with problems of her own, things get complicated. As their relationship plays out, an unexpected bond forms between them, and silver linings appear in both of their lives.

Special Features:
o Deleted Scenes
o Silver Linings Playbook: The Movie That Became A Movement
o Q&A Highlights
o Dance Rehearsal
o Learn To Dance Like Pat & Tiffany
o Going Steadicam With Bradley Cooper
o Digital Copy Included

“Silver Linings Playbook” stars Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, and Chris Tucker. It was written and directed by David O. Russell. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on April 30, 2013. content director Brian Tallerico

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