know, because of the strength of her belief in and love for him.
It's how well the characters are etched, in white and grey and the varying shades in between, that makes the first half of Silver Linings Playbook, directed and written for the screen by David O Russell from a Matthew Quick book, such a delight. Cooper's Pat, suffering from a bipolar disorder, is menacing, manic and hopelessly tragic in his desperation to get his wife back (she left after he almost beat her lover to death). He has episodes, picks himself up again and runs the streets dressed in a garbage bag to get himself in shape for her. Lawerence's Tiffany is flippant yet the most deeply prescient observer of people -- note the dinner at her sister's house where she meets Pat. De Niro's Pat Sr is a father who doesn't know how to handle a son who may be more like him than he is willing to acknowledge.
Even Kher as Dr Patel, Pat's therapist, fits in seamlessly into the story without much ado about his Asian-ness.
It's the film's upbeat insistence on a "silver lining", achieved through a "positive outlook", that seems somewhat of a stretch in the second half. Unlike the characters driving the story in the beginning, it is the story that appears to be edging them along now -- with the transition from one to the other rather too obvious for a film of otherwise such subtle nature. A bet is thrown in, involving both a crucial game and a dance show that Tiffany wants to win with Pat -- with all of it rounded up into a perfect ending.
"Life is hard enough," Pat says in the beginning, fuming at Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms. "Why can't there be happy endings?"
For one, because edges such as in Silver Linings Playbook don't make such perfect rounds -- and why should they?