Very solid, but also really overhyped.
I love Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence. I just wanted to say that yet again in another place. And that statement is relevant because this movie has one of the best casts of the whole year, and uses them very well (unlike an abortion like Movie 43). The acting here in amazing on everyone's part. It's so good; every time I saw Jennifer Lawrence, I was hooked, and Christian Bale is not only a great actor, but his dedication to his roles is impressive, what with his extreme weight loss for The Machinist and The Fighter, and his weight gain here. The only negative thing that I can say about the acting is that Amy Adams' British accent is pretty bad, and it plays a large part in the film. I initially thought that it was intentionally poor for ironic or comedic effect, but that would undermine the storytelling and other characters' brains (specifically Bradley Cooper's character). Either way, it was distracting. The writing and directing is good, although I honestly don't see David O. Russell as a great writer or director. He's fine and I don't particularly have anything against him other than his uncomfortable portrayal of mental illness in Silver Linings Playbook or how I think that he doesn't really do comedy that well, but here he does well with the terrific music choice and costume design, and with use of ambience for most scenes. It's just too long. The movie is 138 minutes and it should have been about 108 minutes. Some parts drag on a bit, perhaps because the plot follows several characters, but some bits definitely could have been shortened. I liked the ending, though; it's just a twenty-minute portion of the second act that strained my attention. It was solid, it just could have been better, and could have easily landed on my top ten list of 2013. 8.1/10, very good, one thumb up, above average, etc.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking