Silver Linings Playbook

Rated 4.0

Recently out of a mental institution but far from stable, a man (Bradley Cooper) obsesses about reconciling with his ex-wife, even as he meets a woman (Jennifer Lawrence) who is equally emotionally fragile. Writer-director David O. Russell adapts Matthew Quick's novel in his usual quirky manner, and the movie takes a while to reel us in. Cooper's character is at first as exasperating to us as to his harried parents (Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver). But before we can completely turn off to this annoying nutcase, Lawrence comes along with a fearless performance that not only captures us but, within the story, calms and humanizes this nervous wreck without his even knowing it. Russell builds this romantic dramedy patiently, and the patience pays off; that inevitable warm feeling at the end is honestly earned.