Run time: 122 mins
In Theaters: Tuesday 25th December 2012
Box Office USA: $132.1M
Box Office Worldwide: $205.7M
Distributed by: The Weinstein Company
Production compaines: The Weinstein Company
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Fresh: 209 Rotten: 18
IMDB: 7.9 / 10
Director: David O. Russell
Screenwriter: David O. Russell
Starring: Bradley Cooper as Pat, Jennifer Lawrence as Tiffany, Robert De Niro as Pat Sr., Jacki Weaver as Dolores, Chris Tucker as Danny, Anupam Kher as Dr. Cliff Patel, John Ortiz as Ronnie, Shea Whigham as Jake, Julia Stiles as Veronica, Dash Mihok as Officer Keogh, Bonnie Aarons as Ricky D'Angelo's Mother, Brea Bee as Nikki, Paul Herman as Randy, Matthew Russell as Ricky D'Angelo, Cheryl Williams as Tiffany's Mother, Patrick McDade as Tiffany's Father, Phillip Chorba as Jordie, Mary Regency Boies as Regina, Anthony Lawton as Dr.Timbers, Patsy Meck as Nancy, Jeff Reim as Jeffrey
Writer-director David O. Russell's out-of-control filmmaking style is perfectly suited to a romantic-comedy involving mental illness, and he infuses the film with a sparky unpredictability that's echoed in the perfectly graded performances of the entire cast. Cleverly, even though most of the characters are clinically unhinged, they're all likeable and easy to identify with.
Cooper stars as Pat, who has spent eight months in a mental hospital before his mother (Weaver) comes to take him home early. His dad (De Niro) isn't so sure it's a good idea, but everyone's happy to have him home. And since he finally accepts that he's bipolar, Pat is ready to get on with life. But it's not so easy. He's prevented from reuniting with his wife because of a restraining order, so he visits mutual friends (Stiles and Ortiz) instead. And they set him up with Tiffany (Lawrence), who's psychologically damaged in her own way. Recognising similar needs, they agree to help each other.
Yes, the film has a clear rom-com premise, but the characters are so unpredictable that we are never quite sure what they'll say or do next. And it's not like Pat and Tiffany are the only unstable people here: they're just the only ones with official diagnoses. All of which gives the actors almost too much colourful material to work with. Cooper is a likeable, charming presence at the centre, eliciting our sympathy even when he does something stupid. And Lawrence delivers a full-on performance that often takes our breath away with its clever layering.
It's also great to see De Niro finally get another role that beautifully balances his gifts for comedy and drama. While Weaver quietly steals her scenes with a subtle glance from the corner of the frame. All of the actors dive fully into each scene, directed by Russell without even a thought for political correctness. So the film has a charge of rough authenticity that lets us see ourselves in each situation. It's hilarious and surprisingly moving, and gives us hope that happiness is out there if we can embrace our imperfections and find someone else willing to do the same.