Having enjoyed David O. Russell's "American Hustle," including being introduced to Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, this weekend we finally watched "Silver Linings Playbook," Russell's earlier movie with those two, and also Robert DeNiro in a much meatier role. (He was perfect in "American Hustle," but it was barely a 5-minute scene.)
In case we aren't the last ones who saw it (and don't worry, no spoilers here), it's the story of Pat, who has just been released from a psychiatric institution after 8 months and goes home to live with his parents in a blue-collar neighborhood of Philly, and to try to get back together with his wife. Along the way he meets Tiffany, who has problems of her own. DeNiro plays the dad, a football bookie, and he shows so much heart (and humor) that it made me stop and realize that I couldn't remember the last time I'd seen him in anything good. I really enjoyed this movie from start to finish—it's in some ways funnier than "American Hustle" but also has some pretty disturbing scenes, which "Hustle" does not. The humor is of the uncomfortable sort in both movies, and I like it that way. The ending was a bit too tidy, but, ah well, that's Hollywood for you.