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Silver Linings Playbook is a wonder of a movie
In 2012 a movie was released that instantly won the hearts of movie goers and film critics alike. It was called Silver Linings Playbook. This movie has it all drama, comedy, romance, and a terrific cast as well. What is it about this movie that makes it so successful and unforgettable?
In the movie Silver Linings Playbook you have a cast of characters all a bit quirky, but for the most part likeable and loveable.
The main character is Pat (played by Bradley Cooper). He spent eight months in a psychiatric hospital after coming home early from work and finding his wife and a coworker having an affair. Pat is the character that is the center of every other character’s existence in the movie. In the opening of movie the audience doesn’t know quite what to make of Pat. He is explosive as well as kind. As the film goes on the audience learns he has a bipolar disorder and when he doesn’t take the medicine it makes him over obsess on things (namely trying to win his ex-wife’s approval and get back together with her). As the movie goes on Pat realizes he needs to be on his medicine and then he begins his goal anew and tells of his Silver Linings Playbook a book where a happy ending is always possible You have to find good in every situation no matter how bad it can get sometimes. If you find the good it will bring you happiness. In the movie Silver Linings Playbook Pat is a good friend, a good son, and a good man. He would never have made it through without these other characters that make his life complete and they are:
Pat’s mom Dolores (played by Jacki Weaver) has a love for her family that knows no bounds. She couldn’t bear to leave her son at the mental hospital and stated when someone said he needed to get used to the routine, that she didn’t want him to get used to the routine. She may have regretted her decision in the beginning because Pat flew off the handle a few times and that may have frightened her. She never gave up believing that the son she knew and loved was underneath the manic energy he sometimes possessed. Pat also has an unconditional love for her husband Pat Sr. even though he has OCD, and a gambling problem, she knows he has good intentions and loves his family. Pat wants her family healthy and whole and it is through her instigation that she has her son meet Tiffany the woman who would change his life. Pat has patience, love, and she too is looking to find her Silver Lining.
Pat’s father Pat Sr. (played by Robert De Niro) has issues of his own. He is OCD and must have his remote controls situated a certain way, and he must hold on to his Eagles handkerchief in order for the Eagles to win. He has a gambling problem, and he and Pat have a strained relationship. Pat Sr. soon appreciates having his son back in his life, and he hopes that they can get closer in time. Father and son begin to slowly understand each other. The audience knows this man loves his family he just has a hard time expressing himself.
The next character who helps Pat in his healing process is Tiffany (played by Jennifer Lawrence). Tiffany is an emotional wreck, and at first viewing, not the person you would think could help Pat. She lost her husband, and recently lost her job. She had depression and was a bit promiscuous trying to kill the pain inside. She does not know what to think about Pat at first. He says whatever comes to mind no matter how hurtful and doesn’t seem to realize how it affects the person. After a few awkward encounters she begins to see a different side to Pat and wants to get to know him better. Tiffany is key to Pat evolving and realizing that his ex-wife Nicki may have never been his perfect match.
Danny (played by Chris Tucker) is a friend of Pat’s from the mental hospital. He is the one who Pat bonds with at the hospital and he brings humor to the movie as he keeps escaping the hospital and showing up at Pat’s house. Pat Sr. feels his good vibes and wants him to hold the remote controls a certain way to make sure the Eagles win their ball game. Danny instantly seems to fit into the family.
Dr. Cliff Patel (played by Anupam Kher ) is one of mentor as he gently treats Pat with his bipolar disorder as well as the breakup of his marriage. Dr. Cliff urges Pat to take his medicine, give Tiffany a chance, and he has Pat step outside his feelings and see how others are feeling. In doing this he helps Pat to get to his Silver Linings faster than he would have on his own.
IMDB trivia for the movie
Mark Walberg was cast in the lead role but director David O. Russell decided to go with Bradley Cooper instead, even though Wahlberg had both produced and co-starred in Russell's last film, the critically acclaimed smash The Fighter (2010).
Rachel McAdams, Olivia Wilde, Elizabeth Banks, Blake Lively, Rooney Mara, Kirsten Dunst, and Andrea Riseborough were considered for the lead female role that went to Jennifer Lawrence.
Just like his role in the film, Bradley Cooper is from Philadelphia and is a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan.
In the original novel on which the film is based, the character of Tiffany is in her mid-30s. Jennifer Lawrence was 22 at the time of the film's release.
Emma Thompson turned down the role of Dolores.
The movie was shot in 33 days.
Jake (played by Shea Whigham) is Pat’s brother. He has everything Pat doesn’t have a wife, a good job, a house etc. He is quick to say he has it all to Pat because he doesn’t really know how to communicate with him, and he is a little scared of how Pat unraveled. Pat feels no envy and tells his brother it is all good and he has nothing but love for him. He proves it when there is an incident at an Eagle’s game they attend.
Ronnie (played by John Ortiz) is a friend of Pat’s who tries, along with his wife, to get Pat and his sister in law Tiffany together. He is very fond of his friend, and he sees a little of himself in Pat. He has moments where he feels he will lose it because of his wife, and his trouble on the job. Ronnie reassures Pat in the moments he feels he can’t handle things, and Pat also is there to help out Ronnie. It is what friendship is all about.
The writing in Silver Linings Playbook is superb. David O. Russell wrote the screenplay as well as directed it and it was not an easy task. He said that he rewrote the script twenty times over five years. It may have not been easy, but Russell created a masterpiece when he finished it. The movie shows the love this family has for each other, it shows a great interaction of characters, and it brings to light mental disorders and how hard it is not only for the person going through it, but on their family as well. David O. Russell created a movie that has drama as well as comedy which isn’t easy to do. Some of the best scenes are unspoken. Two instances that come to mind are:
The moment Pat comes through the door of his family’s home and the first thing he notices are the pictures on the wall by the stairs. His brother’s picture is hanging on the wall while his picture has fallen down on the table with no one noticing it is down or bothering to put it back up. Another moment comes when Pat reads the letter that is supposed to be from his ex-wife Nicki, but he slowly realizes it was really written by Tiffany. The look Pat gives is priceless.
In the movie another character that is not flesh and blood, but vital to the movie are the Philadelphia Eagles. The movie revolves not only on Pat, but how this family loves their Eagles and each Sunday is one to look forward to with Pat’s mom making game time snacks and everyone gathering round to root for their team. In a way the Eagles help in Pat’s healing too. It is nostalgia and it is how their games bring the family together still.
Silver Linings Playbook received eight Academy Award nominations as well as four Golden Globe nominations. It was also a blockbuster at the box office. This movie deserved all the accolades it received. It is a movie that will have you pursuing your own Silver Linings and it is a movie that will stay with you because of its heart and the joy it brings to watch it. Frank Capra would be proud.