“It has become fashionable to suggest that Robert De Niro‘s best work is behind him,” writes N.Y. Times critic A.O. Scott in the 11.18 Sunday Times magazine. “But nostalgia is a vice, and a survey of the last four decades of movie history reveals that De Niro has never slackened, diminished or gone away but has rather, year in and year out, amassed a body of work marked by a seriousness and attention to detail that was there from the start.

“So let’s not herald his new movie, Silver Linings Playbook, as a comeback or a return to form. He has been here, more often than not in top form, the whole time. But Playbook, directed by David O. Russell and based on a novel by Matthew Quick, is nonetheless something special — an anarchic comedy in which De Niro plays a wild, funny and touching variation on the difficult-father theme.

“His character, Pat Solitano Sr., is a Philadelphia Eagles fanatic whose dream of domestic peace is undermined by his emotionally unstable son (Bradley Cooper) and his own volatility. Pat is a reminder that De Niro, an unmatched master of brooding silence and quiet menace, can also be an agile comedian and a prodigious talker.”