This description of Mrs Varden from Charles Dickens’ Barnaby Rudge pretty well describes a side of Jennifer Lawrence’s character in American Hustle. I don’t know if Lawrence or her director David O. Russell or Russell’s co-writer Eric Singer was influenced by Dickens. But they don’t need to have been. All individual human natures are variations on a few themes and a type that turns up in a novel published in 1841 can turn up in a movie made in 2013 because that type will have turned up in real life over and over again in all the years before Dickens invented Mrs Varden and in all the years since. We all know this person or somebody very much like them:
Mrs Varden was a lady of what is commonly called an uncertain temper--a phrase which being interpreted signifies a temper tolerably certain to make everybody more or less uncomfortable. Thus it generally happened, that when other people were merry, Mrs Varden was dull; and that when other people were dull, Mrs Varden was disposed to be amazingly cheerful. Indeed the worthy housewife was of such a capricious nature, that she not only attained a higher pitch of genius than Macbeth, in respect of her ability to be wise, amazed, temperate and furious, loyal and neutral in an instant, but would sometimes ring the changes backwards and forwards on all possible moods and flights in one short quarter of an hour; performing, as it were, a kind of triple bob major on the peal of instruments in the female belfry, with a skilfulness and rapidity of execution that astonished all who heard her.
---from Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens.