There was something rather therapeutically soothing about coming back to Silver Linings Playbook. I must admit this time around I was not quite as drawn to the direction of David O. Russell, because in some scenes it felt like too much attention was brought to his camera. However, I loved Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Rober De Niro, since each one of them is screwed up in their own unique ways. Although their story takes place in Philadelphia and a lot of talk is made about the Eagles, what these characters really are is a cross-section of humanity.
I was just thinking recently how I dislike the term “escapism” referring to watching movies and going to theaters to get away. I do not often consider that I go to movies to escape my life. Maybe I do sometimes, but I am fascinated by movies because they can tell us more about ourselves. More about what it is to be human and coping with all that is messed up — all that is broken.
Tiffany (Lawrence) and Patrick (Cooper), are both screwed up. There’s no getting past it. She’s a widow who got fired from her job for sleeping around and now she does dance as a sort of therapy. He just spent an 8-month stretch in a Psych ward after he caught his wife in the shower with one of her coworkers. Now whenever he hears his wedding song, he goes into an enraged fit. He tries to look for the silver lining in everything, but that does not stop him from hurting the ones he loves.
Tiffany and Patrick are made for each other, even if Patrick refuses to believe it. They both know what it is to be put through therapy, drugs, and the like after personal trauma. They both lack the common filter or etiquette that humanity usually requires. We love them anyway, in spite of these reasons or more likely because of these reasons.
De Niro is Patrick’s father and a man so invested in betting on Eagles football games that it drives his life. Superstitions run rampant in his household, but he refuses to acknowledge them, just like his son refuses to accept his own problems. It makes for some familial fireworks and interesting altercations, but at the end of the day, they are still family.
The whole film culminates in a dance competition that Tiffany and Patrick have been working up to for a long time. It has the big stakes that you would expect for a climatic event, but most importantly it is this moment in time where Patrick finally realizes Tiff is the girl for him. He finally sees what most of the audience saw all along. They are made for each other, and they can accept each other with all their idiosyncrasies. He continues living his life by The Silver Linings Playbook and it makes both Tiffany and him very happy.