After serving 8 months on a plea bargain in a mental institution for beating up his wife’s lover, Pat (Bradley Cooper) returns to the outside world. He hopes to regain everything he has lost: His house, his wife and his old life. Instead, he finds himself going back to live with his parents (Robert DeNiro and Jackie Weaver) who want nothing more than for Pat to help cheer on the Philadelphia Eagles – a near religion in their household. Things begin to change, however, when the mysterious Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) appears in Pat’s life with an offer that Pat cannot refuse. Like Pat, Tiffany also suffers with a mental disorder. She has depression as a result of her husband’s death.
The most wonderful thing about Silver Linings PlayBook is that director David.O. Russell recognizes people’s idiosyncrasies and celebrates them in his film. For instance; a book that Pat reads one night impacts him greatly, causing him to burst into his parents room and demand an answer to the reason for the main character’s death. His reaction to the ending of this novel is a bit extreme to say the least. In reality Pat is bipolar and in the midst of a mania but the whole idea of him being so upset over something that happens in a book is quite hilarious.
Humour is not only shown in Pat’s personal quirks, but also in many of the other character’s behaviour habits. Pat’s dad, who suffers from OCD, loses his job and becomes a very successful bookie in order to support his family. He is a very dedicated Philadelphia Eagle’s fan and he believes that Pat is the Eagles’ good luck charm to winning their games.
Pat and Tiffany’s first encounter is both awkward and amusing. They find themselves in a blind-date situation when they’re invited over to Pat’s best friend and Tiffany’s sister’s house for dinner. It doesn’t take Pat long before he makes his mind up about Tiffany – he believes that she is crazier then he is. Initially he is unable to see how similar the two of them are. There are many more funny situations that occur between them, such as when they discuss all the medications they have tried and taken – almost as if it is a regular dinner conversation and to them it is! For me personally I found this comical as I could relate.
Another thing I found hilarious was how persistent Tiffany was with Pat. She would always join Pat on his morning runs, which drove him mad. Without his knowledge, she would go behind his back and talk to his mom every morning on the phone to find out where he was running. Eventually however, Pat stops finding Tiffany annoying and gives into her tactics.
Not only are the idiosyncrasies of the characters discussed but the theme of mental illness is prevalent throughout the movie as well. It is presented in a way that shows people who suffer with mental illnesses are just like us: trying to get along and survive in the world. They do however have some rather unique problems that they deal with. For example, Pat has to accept that he can get riled up easily, resulting in him fighting and screaming. He often gets violent around his parents and to stop his rage his dad beats him up. Tiffany on the other hand drowns her mental issues BY having sex with random people all the time. The more time Tiffany and Pat spend together, the more they end up helping each other.
Tiffany and Pat balance each other out quite nicely and act as each other’s silver lining. They comfort and support each other, while they overcome their mental illnesses. Pat’s attitude to towards Tiffany is at first negative. He views her as someone who is a means to an end (a connection to his wife). This however changes when he begins falling for her. This only becomes apparent to him though when his friend from the mental institution visits and Pat calls Tiffany his ” friend with an f,” – his ‘fine’ friend. I love this line because not only is Pat moving away from the wife who cheated on him, but he is also starting to see Tiffany as a potential girlfriend when she has liked him all along.
If you haven’t seen Silver Linings Playbook already and are looking for a humorous yet heart warming movie I strongly encourage you to see it. I also recommend reflecting on the funny quirks that make people human and the signs of hope in life that get us through tough and sticky situations, just as Pat does in the movie!