Jennifer Lawrence (Hunger Games) and Bradley Cooper (The Hangover) co-star in Silver Linings Playbook as two mentally ill outcasts. They are thrown together by their friends, who can’t quite understand them, and are forced to deal with each other’s shortcomings.

Silver Linings Playbook gives the audience a glimpse of the complex issues mental illness brings to a family and a life in the form of a fun romantic comedy. It’s the perfect movie for anyone who enjoyed 2010’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story. The mix of comedy and drama has the audience laughing, then tearing up, then crying from laughter.

This is no shock with an actor like Academy Award winner Robert De Niro in the cast. He can seem like a gentle, loving father yet hint at a mysterious undercurrent of mental instability, and simultaneously play the traditional “man’s man” for the other characters. His performance brought a depth and honesty to his character that was touching to watch.

Lawrence and Cooper also gave great performances. They were volatile and shocking one moment and vulnerable and surprisingly human the next. Their complicated chemistry captivated the audience with its peculiarity and imperfection. The pair also had many comedic moments that had the audience shaking with laughter.

The soundtrack, cinematography, and storyline all came together very organically. The soundtrack fit the dispositions of the characters, and it seemed as though the audience was getting glimpses of their favourite playlists rather than hearing someone else’s preferred music. Some of the great songs included Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash’s “Girl from the North Country” and less well-known tracks, like Jessie J’s appropriately named “Silver Linings”.

The cinematography gave the impression not of watching a movie but of sitting or running with the characters, of being thrown to the ground with them. The movie was not filmed to be fantastical or otherworldly, as movies so often are; it was presented as a real and honest account. This gave the movie a much greater impact, because it felt like it wasn’t just a fantasy, but the struggles of actual people.

The storyline was beautifully complex. In the rom-com genre, it’s common to simply follow the interaction of the two main characters, with little or no information about the rest of their lives. This story looks at the complexities of the lives of two people—and how weaving two lives together is much more difficult than it appears. MMMM