This is romantic comedy pure and simple – a genre exercise with the twist being that both star-crossed lovers have a mental illness. Bradley Cooper is bipolar and Jennifer Lawrence has bouts of depression. There's the supporting cast of wacky characters, most notably the superstitious gambling addict Robert De Niro as Cooper's dad, and there's a race for your love 5 mins before the credits roll.
What lifts this beyond the ordinary is the dark side to the humour. Bradley Cooper's episodes are used as a source of comedy, although Russell is careful not to descend into caricature – the point of the film being that people with mental illness are people too. Then there's the swooping camerawork, making full use of point-of-view shots and constantly pulling in to close-up: a visual reminder of how in your face and disruptive Cooper's illness makes him. Fittingly, there's a celebratory circle around the first kiss before the camera rushes back the street leaving the couple as pinpricks. The mania almost literally rushes out of the story. Normality is restored. Like I said: romcom pure and simple.