Every now and then there comes a movie that resonates within you and and you can immediately identify a kinship with. For me recently that movie is Silver Linings Playbook. This is a unique write up for me since I saw the film for the first time several months ago and have seen it several times since then. It tends to bore certain emotions and different feelings with each viewing. I finally decided it was time to give my thoughts/review of the movie now that it has been released on DVD/Blu Ray.
Silver Linings Playbook is the story of Pat played by Bradley Cooper and his journey into discovery of his bi-polar disorder upon his release from a state hospital where he served an 8 month sentence following an incident after he discovered his wife’s affair with a colleague. In his attempt to reconnect with his wife and fight the mental health issues that he deals with on a daily basis, he meets Tiffany played by the talented and beautiful Jennifer Lawrence. Tiffany’s life is also at a crossroads as she is dealing with the loss of a husband and attempting to straighten herself out after having her life spiral slightly out of control. Pat and Tiffany find each other at volatile times in their lives that prove to be exactly what each of them needs.
Mental health is often considered a fairly sensitive and taboo subject in life and is rarely represented accurately in the medium of movies and film. What David O. Russell and the cast of Silver Linings has done is nothing short of blazing a new trail in the fight for recognition and acceptance that mental health is no different than any other health issue. They have proven that it’s a struggle in one’s life everyday but with the right focus and help almost anyone can concur their struggles and go on to live a life that they choose.
The performances in every aspect of the film are some of the most heartfelt and genuine in recent memory. Jennifer Lawrence shines as Tiffany and deservedly won her first Academy Award back in February. Every year there is a performance that is as worthy of an Oscar as any other but it just gets beat out and this year Bradley Cooper’s brilliant portrayal of Pat is that performance. The emotion he conveys and what comes thru the screen is moving and is absolutely captivating. His perfect show of the life and actions of a bi-polar person comes thru in every way right down to the speed in which he speaks. You can feel the confusion he feels in his head and you can see him slowly clear up and settle into a life of healthy mental living.
Robert De Niro returns to his top form that we haven’t seen in many years. De Niro is lovable as the hard tough Philadelphia sports fanatic and father of Pat. Unsure how to live and deal with his sons illness and struggles with thoughts of self blame for not recognizing earlier the help that his son needed.
Anyone who has struggled with depression or any for of mental illness either directly or indirectly will appreciate what David O. Russell has constructed and feel a sense of comfort for the frankness and realness in which he broaches the subject. You can feel his passion come thru the screen and while it’s a life full of struggle and toughness it’s an uplifting story showing that it can be conquered and there is nothing to be ashamed of. We can only hope it strikes a chord with the right people and eventually will be a major mark in the fight of mental illness, along with being a damn good movie.