Tiffany (Best Actress Lawrence) is a young widow battling anxiety and depression. Pat (Cooper) is a bipolar former teacher with a failed marriage. He moves in with his parents after his release from a mental hospital.
Negativity is Pat’s nemesis. He yearns for happy endings. Excelsior, the Latin word for “ever upward,” becomes his mantra. Cooper’s engaging character swings from glee to angst to mania. Pat fills his notebook with strategies to cope and succeed.
Lawrence is outspoken as the vulnerable Tiffany. Her life seems to be a mess. Dancing in the converted garage/studio where she lives, she’s free to be herself.
Both Pat and Tiffany are determined to find happiness. You might say they have “poor social skills.” With refreshing honesty and open hearts, they are deeply moving.
Winning is relative
Tiffany enlists Pat as her dance partner in a competition which they have no chance of winning. Lawrence embodies Tiffany’s love of dance and self-expression with spunky grace. Physical exercise helps many to manage anxiety and depression. Pat learns discipline and focus during their rehearsals.
Cheering them on are Pat’s dad (Robert De Niro), an obsessive compulsive gambler seeking a football buddy, and his salt-of-the-earth mom (Jacki Weaver). Pat’s middle-of-the-night rants test the Solitanos’ patience.
Chris Tucker stands out as Danny, Pat’s offbeat friend from the hospital. Anupam Kher plays the understanding Dr. Patel.
Russell’s outstanding screenplay is based on Matthew Quick’s novel Silver Linings Playbook. I wanted to stand up and cheer when Tiffany tells her “perfect” sister Veronica (Julia Stiles): “You love it when I have problems. Then you can be the good one!” John Ortiz plays Pat’s friend Ronnie, Veronica’s husband.
De Niro brings it as Mr. Solitano breaks down, confessing that he just wants to spend more time with his troubled son. Father and son learn to become more caring, loving men.
We’re all in this together
Tiffany finds peace by loving and forgiving herself, even her “crazy, sad shit.” She must accept that Pat may or may not be ready to fall in love again.
If Pat can forgive and let go of ex-wife Nikki (Brea Bee), the object of his obsession, he’ll be able to receive much more in life. He learns to embrace joy and pain.
Silver Linings Playbook beautifully captures the personal challenges of mental and emotional illness. The characters learn that “we’re all in this together” as they complement each others’ strengths and weaknesses.
Healing means living from the heart where there are no stereotypes. Pat and Tiffany learn to accept themselves and live authentically.
Silver Linings Playbook / Take Action
You can learn more and take action to support healing, gratitude, love, mental/emotional health and awakening via these resources: Bernie Siegel, M.D.; Deepak Chopra, M.D.; Dr. Wayne W. Dyer; Project Forgive; The Cure Is; OWNTV Super Soul Sunday; CoreLight.
Silver Linings Playbook 2012 / R / 2 hours
Cast Overview: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, Brea Bee, Anupam Kher, John Ortiz, Shea Whigham, Julia Stiles
Director: David O. Russell
Genre: Romantic Dramedy