Given the weight, length, scope, and moral purpose of some of the movies currently begging you to watch them — the abolition of slavery in “Lincoln,” the triumph over addiction in “Flight,” the unstoppable ATM-ness of the 007 franchise in “Skyfall” — it’s possible to forget the pleasure to be had in relative lightness. Hollywood has gotten away from the serious comedies that once were among its specialties. Those have been farmed out to television, where subtlety, social commentary, and eccentricity mock the obviousness and idiocy of the movie comedy at the moment. Yet no matter how grim it’s looking for certain kinds of laughter, as long as there’s David O. Russell, things will be OK.
We’re so infrequently given the small, the intimate, the deathless, the funny that when we get a movie from Russell — “The Fighter” was his previous one — our involuntary response is to love it desperately, apocalyptically, like it’s the last serious comedy on Earth. His new film is “Silver Linings Playbook,” and it’s at least the last and best such movie of the year.