I am probably an incredibly biased person to review Silver Linings Playbook. I happen to absolutely love Jennifer Lawrence and think she’s an incredibly underrated actress, but I also grew up in the Philadelphia area and a movie with shows the suburbs of Philly with such accuracy was always going to win my heart – you can tell the author of the novel the movie is based on grew up around Philadelphia and manages to capture working class Philly – and always, a strong love of the birds.
Pat (Bradley Cooper) has moved back in with his parents (Robert DeNiro and Jacki Weaver) after being treated for bipolar disorder in a Baltimore hospital. One of his bipolar incidents involved physical violence against his wife’s lover once he discovered she was having an affair, so he’s now also dealing with an estranged wife who wants nothing to do with him (and who has actually placed a restraining order against him.)
The film meanders a bit at its beginning, with Pat fixated on winning his wife back while dealing with moving back home with his parents (who are having trouble understanding the challenges of dealing with bipolar disorder), but it really picks up when Jennifer Lawrence enters the picture as a recent widow in the neighbourhood, longing to enter a ballroom dancing competition. The dance competition offers genuine laughs, especially when it collides with Pat’s father’s love of Philadelphia sports (as any Philly fan knows, a roller coaster love indeed!) The movie isn’t particularly deep, but it’s well worth a watch – it’s one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in awhile (as any reader of this blog knows, I like observational humour – and this movie does it well) and Cooper, Lawrence and DeNiro are excellently entertaining. Not to mention that you’ll get to see where I grew up in all its glory!
When I was deciding what food to make with it, I knew the emphasis on football meant that I was thinking a Thanksgiving food. Luckily, since I was bringing the pecan pie for a friend’s Thanksgiving this year, I found the perfect recipe for this movie. It’s a take on the classic pecan pie, and it’s meant to be enjoyed in front of an American football game.
Chocolate Chunk Pecan Pie (adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days)
110g unsalted butter
225g plain flour
80g caster sugar
1 large egg
Mix together until you form a thick pastry. We kneaded for extra combining and it worked very well. Place in the fridge overnight – it will be very stiff the next day and will require more rolling than an average pastry. Roll out and place in a pie dish.
Pie Filling Ingredients:
110g unsalted butter
226g light brown sugar
110g golden syrup
3 large eggs (not pictured)
85g dark chocolate chunks
Combine the butter, golden syrup and sugar in a saucepan. Mix on a medium heat until sugar is melted in the liquid, then remove it from the heat and mix in the eggs.
Cut up the pecans into small pieces. Heat the oven to 150C and place the pie crust (covered by some baking beans) in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the baked beans and continue heating the pie crust for ten minutes uncovered. Spread the nuts and chocolate over the warm base. Pour the egg and syrup mixture over the nuts and chocolate.
Cook at 150C for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 140C and cook for 20 minutes, possibly a bit longer. You want to wait until the top of the pie is just a bit sticky, but holds steady if you brush a fork over it.
And enjoy. Best with a bunch of friends in front of a football game. Silver Linings Playbook is in theatres now.