David O. Russell has come a long way. "I Heart Huckabees" wasn't much of a hit in 2004, and its difficult production (culminating in a notorious viral video with Lily Tomlin) went widely public. His following picture, "Nailed," still remains on a shelf (it was abandoned when financial problems shut the film down before it was complete), and the filmmaker struggled to mount several projects, but none came to fruition. This all changed in 2010 with "The Fighter," which scored seven Oscar nominations in 2011 including Best Picture and Best Director.
Russell seems poised to repeat that success with his latest, "Silver Linings Playbook," which won the coveted audience award at the recent Toronto International Film Festival, and generally seems to have impressed critics (including ours) with a life-affirming story said to be genuinely charming, funny, sad and hopeful. Here's the synopsis:
Life doesn’t always go according to plan…Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper) has lost everything — his house, his job, and his wife. He now finds himself living back with his mother (Jacki Weaver) and father (Robert DeNiro) after spending eight months is a state institution on a plea bargain. Pat is determined to rebuild his life, remain positive and reunite with his wife, despite the challenging circumstances of their separation. All Pat’s parents want is for him to get back on his feet – and to share their family’s obsession with the Philadelphia Eagles football team. When Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a mysterious girl with problems of her own, things get complicated. Tiffany offers to help Pat reconnect with his wife, but only if he'll do something very important for her in return. As their deal plays out, an unexpected bond begins to form between them, and silver linings appear in both of their lives.
Here's the latest trailer from the film, which seems to suggest that its everything critics say it is. The song in the end is The Lumineers' jubilant "Ho Hey," which you may recognize from various Bing commercials. Starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher, Shea Whigham, John Ortiz and Julia Stiles, "Silver Linings Playbook" lands in theaters Novemeber 21st. It will also hit various film festivals before then including the San Diego Film Festival and the Hamptons International Film Festival in October.