Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star as two psychologically and emotionally disturbed individuals whose lives become intertwined, both sharing a recent trauma and each believing the other to be more unhinged than themselves. Bradley Cooper gives a really fantastic performance, as does Robert De Niro playing his OCD father. Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t wholly convince as someone who’s not quite the full shilling, but I think that is the point, rather than being in the same boat she is acutely aware of how she comes across to others – a foil to Cooper’s character who is mostly oblivious to the social consequences of his condition, and there is no denying she imbues the role with her strong screen presence; at times like a rattled, but still perfect, porcelain doll in search of a soulful remedy to countermeasure her carnal, desperate, desires. Moving, often amusing, and deserving of the accolades it’s bound to garner it is also laced with the spirit of the title, and has a very well selected soundtrack in accompaniment.
Based on the 2008 debut novel of Matthew Quick but with a shift from New Jersey to Philadelphia, David O. Russel (‘Three Kings’ 99, ‘The Fighter’ 10) both wrote the screenplay and directed the film, having a special interest and relationship with the material as his own son is both bipolar and has OCD, which may be why the whole film feels sympathetically grounded in reality.