I really enjoyed Silver Linings Playbook. It is a romantic comedy that deals with several important issues like marriage, friendship, family, and mental illness. It was very entertaining and it has good plot, and great acting. It is based on the novel of the same name. And it is nominated for 8 Oscars including Best Director, Editing, Best Picture, Best Actor (Bradley Cooper), Best Supporting Actor (Robert De Niro), Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence), Best Supporting Actress (Jacki Weaver) and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Plot: Pat’s mom has just sprung Pat from the mental hospital against medical advice and without telling his father. Pat has bipolar disorder with violent tendencies that exploded when he found his wife cheating on him with a history teacher from the school where they both were employed. Pat now has to learn to deal with his disorder and begin to put his life back together in hopes that he can reconcile with his wife (who has a restraining order against him). With the help of medication and therapy, Pat believes he can cope with life by keeping in shape and looking for the silver linings in life. However, he finds that there are certain situations with which that he cannot deal, and it seems his family just makes it harder for him to successfully cope. We can see that his disorder is inherited as his father has the same anger issues that Pat does and it is interesting to watch the family dynamics in this household. Also, adding some complexity to Pat’s life is Tiffany. Tiffany is the sister to Pat’s best friend’s wife and he meets her at a dinner party that his friend hosts. Tiffany has also been through hard times and has depression. She is also being treated by therapy and medication. She also incidentally lives with her parents. They seem to have a lot in common and get to be good friends, and perhaps they could be something more if Pat’s wife wasn’t standing in the way? Can Pat cope with his illness or will he be sent back to the mental hospital? Will he choose Tiffany or his wife? You will have to watch the movie to find out.
I really enjoyed this film for several reasons. One is that it shows how hard it is for people with mental illness to get help and understanding from their family and friends. My ex-husband has bipolar disorder and it was hard to get people to understand what that is and what it entails. People feel ashamed of getting the help they need and that is shown in this film. We need to start treating the mentally ill like any other long-term illness and get these people the help they need. The plot was well formed, it is funny and serious, and again deals with several important issues like mental illness, family dynamics, marriage, love and friendship.
The acting was great which is shown by the fact that this movie got nominated for four acting Oscars. Bradley Cooper plays Pat. He does a good job showing the up and downs of bipolar disorder. As someone who lived with someone who had bipolar disorder I can tell you Bradley Cooper comes pretty close. And your heartbreaks for this guy, he is trying so hard to reform himself into what his wife wants him to be, yet he is forgetting to find his own way. It is interesting to watch his dynamics with the other characters especially his family. Bradley Cooper does an excellent job showing us this character through his emotions, facial expressions and body language. Jennifer Lawrence is perfect as Tiffany. She also has a mental disorder in depression. She also acts out and emotionally. She shows us a lot about her character through her face and body language. Jennifer Lawrence is one of my favorite actresses out there. I have enjoyed her ever since I saw her in Winter’s Bone. She gives a stellar performance here and I am glad she won the Oscar for this role. Of course Robert De Niro was perfect as the over-bearing Dad who has anger issues. You can definitely see that Pat comes by his disorder honestly (like father like son as they say). He genuinely cares for his sons, but he has a hard time showing it. Jacki Weaver was great as Pat’s mother. She loves her son but doesn’t know how to help him or how to deal with his father either. She is a woman caught in the middle and sometimes you feel for her. Weaver brings this character to life and you feel like you know this woman from somewhere. Chris Tucker is hilarious as the fellow mental patient who becomes friends with Pat. He brings some much-needed comic relief to this serious film. I think overall all the acting was well done in the film. All the characters, major and minor were brought to life in such as way that they were believable. These were characters will real problems and I feel like I could know these people.
I saw all nine films nominated for best picture in a two-day showcase. This one made the list of my top four favorites (along with Les Miserables, Argo and Life of Pi). I preordered all of these films on Blu-ray including Silver Linings Playbook. It is a great movie with a good story. Give it a shot.