Academy Awards 2013: Silver Linings Playbook


Bianca Tan

“Silver Linings Playbook” is all-around entertaining, being comprised of two parts drama and one part romantic comedy. Going into the movie, don’t expect to laugh like you would when you watch “The Hangover;” the humor in this movie is darker and stems from the film’s serious topics. 

In total, “Silver Linings Playbook” has eight Oscar nominations.

The plot focuses on Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) trying to put his life back together after a stint in a mental hospital. He is sentenced to a mental facility by the courts for eight months after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and nearly beating his wife’s lover to death.

Although initially the audience does not hold much sympathy for him as he is portrayed as a deadbeat whose wife left him and who lives with his parents, it is quickly revealed that his time in the hospital has changed him into a better person. He is redeemed by his determination to stay positive by always looking for the movie’s namesake, the “silver lining.” However, the audience still does not know if they can really trust his character because of his mental illness. 

Set in Philadelphia, the city plays a major role in the movie’s plot. Scenes portray the hard city life of the working class trying to stay afloat amidst the economic downturn, as well as the neighborhood ritual of watching the Eagles play on Sundays. Pat’s father, played by Robert De Niro, is a devoted Eagles fan and obsessively roots for his team.  

Portrayed as having undiagnosed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), De Niro’s character makes Pat sit with him and holds the remotes a certain way while watching the game because he believes Pat is the Eagles’ good luck charm. Their father-son relationship is interesting to watch as its dynamic changes throughout the film, and De Niro’s portrayal earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

Jennifer Lawrence also stars in the movie, playing Tiffany, a mysterious girl Pat meets who might be “crazier” than he is. Most of the humor comes from these two going back and forth arguing. Lawrence shines in her portrayal of an emotionally damaged yet tough widow and her performance has her nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role. 

Student Neha Chavali also thought Jennifer Lawrence’s performance was a standout. 

 “I liked how they showed how versatile Jennifer Lawrence is as an actress,” Chavali said.

Digging deeper into the movie, it portrays mental illness in a thought-provoking way. There is a great amount of social stigma surrounding mental illness in our culture, and it is shown in the movie by how the other characters interact with Pat. 

Since he is labeled as crazy, he is viewed as dangerous and unpredictable (which at times, he is). However, everyone is so focused on his diagnosis that they forget that he is still a person. The movie reminds us that mentally ill people are still people—we can all relate to having vulnerabilities and having to work through things.

Though the film is darker and a bit more serious, it delivers the message that there is a silver lining in even the most difficult situation (in an inspirational and non-cliché way). Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are outstanding together, and it is well worth seeing. The film has already won many awards.

“I really liked it; it definitely deserves all the awards it has won because not only was it entertaining, but it made you think on a deeper level,” said Chavali.

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