David O. Russell really returned to form in 2010's The Fighter, and his latest film, a return to his more comedic films, The Silver Lining's Playbook has premeired at the Toronto International Film Festival with pretty great reviews, and lots of positive buzz about its Oscar chances. It is apparently dramatic comedy with lots of dysfunction. According to early reviews, Cooper is apparently the best he has ever been, Lawrence proves why she is one of the best young talents working today, and Russell has found his directing groove. I still worry about comedies at the Oscars, although those who have been able to creatively pull in drama have done relatively well in recent years compared to more raunchy comedies (Bridesmaids being the first real exception). I think that with sustained positive buzz, and probably decent box office, this will be one of those that can hang on. Here are some of the first reactions:
Eric Kohn at Indiewire:
"Turning frantic relationship problems into breezy entertainment, Russell gives "Silver Linings Playbook" the air of a classic romcom, strengthening it with the type of sophisticated insight into human behavior that Preston Sturges might make today. While the thrilling climax involves an absurd bet and rounds things up a little too neatly, Russell never simplifies the shared neuroses that enable Pat and Tiffany to form an unlikely bond. "You are afraid to be alive," she tells him, clearly speaking from experience. The line aptly sums up the appeal of "Silver Linings Playbook," a movie that explores the fear of overcoming challenges by making it possible to laugh at them."
"But while the entire ensemble is sharp, their work would be nothing without two such deftly anchoring lead performances to bounce off. Cooper brings enormous heart to a role that easily might have veered toward the abrasive, and Lawrence shows off natural comic chops that we haven’t seen much from her. There’s self-exposure and risk in both these actors’ work here, which makes for rewarding comedy."
Steve Pond at The Wrap likes its Oscar chances:
"The Silver Linings Playbook," Russell's first movie since the Oscar-nominated "The Fighter" two years ago, came to Toronto without much buzz but debuted on Saturday night in Roy Thomson Hall to a roaring ovation.Featuring a career-changing performance from Bradley Cooper (Ieft with David O. Russell and producer Jonathan Gordon) and another brilliant one from Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings" is a perfectly calibrated comedy that is also deeply moving; it's another major step in Russell's comeback from movie limbo, and a mainstream film with enough heart and clout to immediately figure into a number of Oscar races, definitely including Best Picture."