Against medical advice and without the knowledge of her husband Pat Solatano Sr., caring Dolores Solatano discharges her adult son, Pat Solatano Jr., from a Maryland mental health institution after his minimum eight month court ordered stint. The condition of the release includes Pat Jr. moving back in with his parents in their Philadelphia home. Although Pat Jr.’s institutionalization was due to him beating up the lover of his wife Nikki, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Nikki has since left him and has received a restraining order against him. Although he is on medication (which he doesn’t take because of the way it makes him feel) and has mandatory therapy sessions, Pat Jr. feels like he can manage on the outside solely by healthy living and looking for the “silver linings” in his life. His goals are to get his old job back as a substitute teacher, but more importantly reunite with Nikki.
Pat (Bradley Cooper) is being released for a mental institution after a 8 month stay. He was forced by the court to undergo mental evaluation after catching his wife in the shower together with one of her colleagues, who he promptly beat to a pulp. As soon as he gets out, his only goal is to get back with his wife, Nikki, who has put out a restraining order. He’s getting in shape, reading the books that she teaches, generally trying to show her that he’s better now and that he is ready to resume their marriage. That is not really going very well until he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) a young widow who, after her husband’s death, also went a little crazy. Tiffany promises to help Pat with Nikki but only if he promises to be her dance partner in a upcoming dance competition.
I’m just going to jump right in here: this movie is everything a movie should be. The first thing that caught my attention is how real it felt. Especially the arguments. Often in movies arguments are passionate but short and it ends with someone either getting punched in the face or walking away but in this movie, you feel the desperation of Pat not being able to make clear what he wants and not being able to let out his frustrations the way he would have before, namely by punching someone half to death. I think they conveyed living with a mental illness really well, not only with Pat but also with his dad (Robert De Niro), who obviously suffers from undiagnosed OCD. If something, anything, isn’t the way it should be on ‘Game Day’, he will panic because of what might happen. He calls it superstition but it’s obviously more than that.
The acting in this movie was amazing. We all know that Jennifer Lawrence got an Oscar for her role as Tiffany and she definitely deserved it. Did you know that Jennifer Lawrence is 3 months younger than me? Makes you think about what you’re doing with your life.. But anyway, one of the best scenes from the movie is in the diner where Tiffany gets angry at Pat for judging her for her exploits. There is something in her look when she goes from incredulous to angry which is so subtle but so powerful. And her manic laughter right before she sweeps everything that’s on the table to the ground.
“I opened up to you and you judged me”
What great about this movie is that the most important parts in the movies are silent. When Tiffany gets angry in the diner, when Pat realizes that Tiffany had been lying to her, Tiffany looking at Pat talking to Nikki from across the dance floor. But the one that got me the most was the scene in the attic at Christmas time when Tiffany is trying to tie Pat’s tie and failing at it and while she is running around trying to find something, Pat is just looking at her with that look that says so much; everything from betrayal to acceptance and friendship and love. It was my favourite part of the movie.
Like I said before, we all know that Jennifer Lawrence got an Oscar for her role in Silver Linings Playbook but seriously, Bradley Cooper should have won an Oscar, too. I say this completely prejudiced as I haven’t seen Lincoln yet so I may change my mind, but I was absolutely blown away by his performance.
SLP is a beautiful movie about two people who have been going through a hard time recently and are, with lack of a better word, fucked up right now. But somehow, they manage to help each other without noticing.
The only way to beat my crazy was by doing something even crazier. Thank you. I love you. I knew it from the moment I saw you. I’m sorry it took me so long to catch up.
I want to watch this movie again and again and again. I recommend it to everyone.