One of the things you try and learn while writing a screenplay is how people really talk in real life. People often don’t say exactly what they mean, instead, they use something called subtext which is defined as: the underlying or implicit meaning, as of a literary work. Very often a look, or the rolling of the eyes says everything in a scene and you should not try and make anything too obvious or it just gets too boring. The boring form of dialogue in movies is known in the industry as “On the nose dialogue”.
There is nothing boring in “Silver Linings Playbook” that came out in 2012. You know within the first few minutes that this was a special movie and that most if not all of the actors in it would be recognized for a great performance, especially Jennifer Lawrence who won the academy award for her part as the manic and disturbed girlfriend of the main character played by Bradly Cooper and also the wife of a man who was tragically killed. Robert Deniro plays Cooper’s father in this movie and the movie begins as Cooper’s character returns home after some months in a mental hospital for beating up the man who had an affair with his wife. This movie gives a rare insight into the subject of mental illness not only with Cooper and his new girlfriend but also with Cooper’s father who is an obsessive gambler and actually believes that certain repeated events must happen in order for him to win his sports team bets, mostly with the Philadelphia Eagles. The screenplay for this film was written by David O. Russell and it’s outstanding throughout. This film is one of the rare examples of a movie that has moments of extreme drama and comedy. You knew immediately when I saw the scene at the Diner with Lawrence and Cooper that Jennifer Lawrence would win the academy award because her performance in that one scene was so compelling. (see movie clip below). The scene towards the end of the movie with Lawrence “doing her homework” was also great. (last clip)
Silver Linings Playbook is a must see movie and it gets my highest recommendation.