Blu-ray Review: ‘Silver Linings Playbook’

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Blu-ray Review: ‘Silver Linings Playbook’
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Movie poster for "Silver Linings Playbook."

David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook" delivers a stunning two-disc set that houses the film's Blu-ray, DVD, UV digital, and iTunes digital copies. This 2012 romantic dramedy adapted from Matthew Quick's novel "The Silver Linings Playbook" features a touching tale of loving and letting go. It stars Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Julia Stiles, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, and Anupam Kher. It won Lawrence her first Academy Award for Best Actress. The film also received seven Oscar nominations including the much-coveted award for Best Picture.

The story revolves around the life of a former high school history teacher recently released from a mental institution. As this bipolar tries to assimilate himself back in the society, he is also determined to win back his ex-wife, while his volatile and obsessive-compulsive gambler father pressures him to accompany him on his games because of the belief that he is his good luck charm. Things get more challenging beyond his already existing emotional turmoil and family dysfunction when he winds up in a romance with his kooky neighbor who happens to have her own mental issues as well.

Visuals

The film favors a quasi-verité approach with a lot of handheld camera work supporting its mental illness, obsession, and addiction themes. Scenes often utilize natural lighting schemes to create a simple but effectively realistic tone to the storytelling. Overall details look adequate, although evident softness becomes noticeable in many shots. Nevertheless, saturation and contrast pushes the value of the picture through strong images with no compression artifacts to report.

Audio

The film provides a suitably engaging five-channel lossless track, along with an alternate five-channel French track. The mix is not the type that can rock one's home entertainment system the way more aggressive modern offerings can, but it is still a very good accompaniment to what the picture offers. Often times, the low-key effects sound effortlessly natural. No seriously problematic noise or distortion pulls down the film's audio quality.

The dynamic range is relatively wide for this type of genre offering. The bolder aural flourishes do not interfere with the track's more somber moments. The subtle surround activity allows the sound components to easily seep through the speakers, in between the well-prioritized dialogue and the non-intrusive score.

Supplements

The combo pack contains a couple of supplements including a collection of deleted scenes, the cast interview featurette "Q&A Higlights," and the behind-the-scene featurettes "Silver Linings Playbook: The Film that Became a Movement," "Dance Rehearsal," "Learn to Dance Like Pat and Tiffany," and "Going Steadicam with Bradley Cooper." Subtitle options are available in English and Spanish.

Final Thoughts

"Silver Linings Playbook" is an unconventionally witty and distinctly adult romantic tale. Although it occasionally resorts to clichés, its riveting performances and unforgettable characters make it a viscerally engaging narrative -- with any of its missteps becoming easily forgivable as the story progresses. A must-watch, this cinematic piece is both entertaining and meaningful in telling the story of lost, troubled souls struggling in the society.

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