#8: Silver Linings Playbook
There are plenty of amazing turns to choose from when determining the best acting performances of the year, but Silver Linings Playbook is one that you have to look back to multiple times in order to get a truly complete list. Backed by an amazing script with a strong core message that points out just how screwed up each and every one of us are, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence alone make David O. Russell’s latest film not only a must-see, but one of the best of year.

Based on the novel by Matthew Quick, the story follows a former teacher (Cooper) who is released after a long stay at a mental hospital and immediately sets out on a mission to regain his wife’s love – but gets distracted when an equally-disturbed young woman (Lawrence) enters his life. The story is simple, but what makes Silver Linings Playbook such a fascinating piece is the work by the gifted ensemble cast. The stars of the show are obvious, and their shared chemistry elevates the movie’s main relationship to a new level, but Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker and John Ortiz take the film even further and help further explore the important central message. As much as I love Three Kings, Flirting With Disaster and The Fighter before this year I’m not sure I would have specifically labeled myself a David O. Russell fan. Silver Linings ensures that I will from now on. (Read my full review here)

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