Silver Linings Playbook Analysis

Sarah Carpenter Professor Herzog Final Paper Silver Linings Playbook The narrative of Silver Linings Playbook is formed in the heart of Philadelphia around a middle class family at it’s breaking point. Pat’s, the protagonist, family has very much shaped his current situation; he has clinical bipolar disorder and struggles with stress-induced manic outbursts.

After Pat’s release from a mandated rehabilitation center, he handles the next recuperating stage of his life in a similar way as a quarterback looking to make the next big play on the field; watching for ossible blitzes and passes, anything to get the ball into the end zone, or in Pat’s case, to get in position for his life to get back on track, and preferably with his estranged wife, Nikki. The football metaphor does not stop there and is continually enforced by Pat Sr. Pat’s OCD and stress-induced manic outburst ridden father. Silver Linings Playbook was first a book written by Matthew Quick, then re-adapted by David Russell, the director and screenwriter.

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David Russell has a son who has been diagnosed with autism spectrum and bipolar disorder and he wanted to make something that his son could relate to. The characters were brought to life by Bradley Cooper as Pat Jr. , Jennifer Lawrence as Tiffany, and Robert De Niro as Pat Sr. among others. The film, like life itself, Juggles multiple dimensions simultaneously. It is a dark comedy with some occasional romance and addresses stigmatized human elements like dysfunctional families and mental illness. Elements of Silver Linings Playbook relate to other films; the screwball comedy storyline is reminiscent of classic movies starring Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn and the effect of mental illnesses is also depicted in Side Effects, released in 2012.

However, no film singularly covers all of the crucial aspects of Silver Linings Playbook, which in part, makes it such a refreshing film in what seems to be a half a decade of sequels and CGI heavy movies. With eight Academy Awards nominations, including one win for Jennifer Lawrence, and a glowing review of 4. 5/5 stars from Roger Ebert, a Pulitzer Prize winner for his work in criticism, Silver Linings Playbook is a compelling story of a man’s Journey to rebuild his life after an incident in which his previous world collapsed around him.Unusual in Academy Award nominees, and winners, Silver Linings Playbook also eatures a love story gone wrong between two people who begin to find themselves again despite their bleak struggle with their respective mental illnesses. The element that makes Silver Linings Playbook the most interesting is that it mirrors reality so closely that it could be a family incident one is watching play out during the holidays.

The film is about the very taboo subject of mental illnesses, specifically in a family dynamic, without actually being about mental illnesses.To condense it into a few lines, Silver Linings Playbook is about the persistence of hope, the nature of families, nd the habit of people to get in the way of their own happiness. Silver Linings one chose not to look beneath the surface or examine their own reactions after viewing the film.

However, it offers so much more than the clich?©d scenario of two people falling in love and the relationship not working out because one of them is afraid of their feelings while the other is viewed as having too many feelings.In this clich?©d scenario, the partners get over themselves in order for their relationship to eventually work out. The clincher of Silver Linings Playbook is that it offers well eveloped characters who are flawed in atypical ways: Pat nearly killed a man and is determined to rekindle the flame with his separated wife, and Tiffany, the heroine who uses sex as an emotional outlet and is manipulative to get what she wants. On paper, these two characters seem far-fetched, not relatable, and unenjoyable to watch, yet their uncommon depiction in films makes Silver Linings Playbook work.Pat and Tiffany are flawed in ways that are more common in human nature than we discuss, or would like to believe, and offer more depth to the audience than the verly-stereotyped flaws of commitment phobia and unnecessary expression of feelings. Silver Linings Playbook is shot through Pat’s perspective in the present as he navigates his life after he is released from a psychiatric rehab facility. Russell is able to tell the story of how Pat arrived at the point he is at through flashbacks triggered by his wedding song and through visits with his court appointed psychiatrist.The storyline bounces around from different aspects of Pat’s life; problems at home with his parents, his running back to Nikki and away from his new life, and dancing with Tiffany.

The audience is whirled around following it all, as if they too are a part of the obsessive craziness that is overwhelming and raw in some moments and relaxed and comical in others. In these ways, the mental illness aspect of the film that has completely shaken up Pat’s life, is woven through for the audience to understand, but is still not a glaring idea that is hard for people to grasp or relate to.Though the film itself strays from a typical romantic comedy, the structure of Silver Linings Playbook does not. Romantic comedies usually center on a single person’s development through the assistance of their soon-to-be partner. The theme is stated within the first ten minutes; in this case, it is stated within the title, the theme of Silver Linings Playbook is the importance of finding a happy ending or “silver lining” no matter the circumstances.There is a set-up of the protagonist’s life needing to change; Pat moves home to his parents, his father suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and instead of hope in a silver lining his moods are dependent on the success of the Philadelphia Eagles and his mother who manages to hold the two explosive Pat’s together.

Pat reveals his obsession with his soon-to-be ex-wife, Nikki, as he checks out every book on her high school English class syllabus to read.The need for change is solidified when Pat goes to his psychiatrist’s office and the song that triggered his initial manic outburst, Ma Cherie Amour by Stevie Wonder- also Pat and Nikki’s wedding song, is playing and Pat has another psychological break. Then later that night, Pat meets Tiffany, which is the real catalyst for him to find his silver lining and is also the introduction of the sub-romantic plot. Tiffany requires Pat to give up the ideas that framed his old life, his relationship with Tiffany nd his giving in to his father’s OCD regarding the Eagles, and to move on to his new life, post-rehab and with her.Through a deal Pat and Tiffany made to exchange a other and also unwittingly fall in love, though Pat does not seem to know this and the audience is not fully let on to it until the final scene. While Pat Jr. is developing his relationship with Tiffany, Russell develops Pat Sr.

‘s OCD during Eagles games, and the noticeable absence of Pat Jr. , and Pat Sr. ‘s gambling addiction.

The three prominent characters come head to head to head after an Eagles game. Pat Jr. was supposed to be at the game to clinch an Eagles victory, to appease his superstitious father.Pat Jr. also promised Tiffany he would spend time practicing a dance move. Despite these obligations, he was kicked out of the Eagles game during the tailgate due to getting into a fght.

During this intense blowout that shifts from Tiffany to Pat Sr. back to Tiffany, the audience is really able to see the true nature of the three main characters. The story ends on a high note as Pat and Tiffany compete in their dance competition and Pat tells Tiffany that he does love her.One of the most important sequences of the film, and one of the most revealing of Pat and Tiffany as characters, is around the 37 minute mark when Pat is Jogging through Tiffanys neighborhood the morning after the fght he had with his father. The scene opens with Tiffany discovering Pat is Jogging the same route as her and then Tiffany running after him. As she chases after him, the consistent audio sounds are the sound of feet hitting the pavement, the sound of someone breathing hard, and a whimsical folksy song playing in the background.

The camera focuses on Pat’s moving feet, to his arms umping to run faster, to him looking back to see if he has lost Tiffany yet, then to him stopping to catch his breath in front of her house as she comes whizzing out from her backyard to continue yelling at him. The focus shifts from Tiffany back to Pat, letting the audience feel like they are there on the street with them, and sometimes the focus stays for a second or two too long, to catch a micro-expression on one of their faces to hint at the emotions bubbling underneath that are about to erupt.They Jockey the word “crazy’ back and forth at one another, letting it bounce in the air as acknowledged, but never fully claimed.

As they continue to scream at each about still loving their ex-spouses, Pat calls Tiffany a slut and to which she replies, “l was a slut. There will always be a part of me that is dirty and sloppy, but I like that, just like all of the other parts of myself. I can forgive. Can you say the same for yourself, fucker? Can you forgive? Are you any good at that? as the camera focuses in on her face and her hands movements to get the emphasis of her words. The scene is well lit, it takes place on the street, and it lets the audience know that Tiffany is aware of herself and she is comfortable with being labelled as a “slut” or “crazy’. However, the constant movement of Pat away from Tiffany and the focus of his feet running from her, lets the audience know that he has not fully accepted his mental illness, the stigma it carries, and he does not want to be associated with the sexual deviant, Tiffany, who is chasing after him.The clips are long to let the audience focus on the two characters in the scene and to lead up to the final words that Tiffany leaves Pat with.

The panning back and forth from the two characters to catch each of their responses transports the audience on to the street next to them, watching this rama unfold. The lighting of the scene is meant to be clear, sharp, and revealing. The audience is supposed to be painfully aware of the harshness of Pat’s words and the reality of Tiffanys response.The larger implication of this scene transcends situation. In this case, the situation is Pat’s altercation with his father that left both of them bruised emotionally and physically, to make the best of it and find a silver lining. In this situation and throughout the film, Pat metaphorically and literally runs. Then Tiffany comes rushing in unexpectedly, as usual, placing the audience back in he middle of the whirlwind relationship of Jarring honesty and manic interactions.

She forces Pat, directly here, but continually through the film, to ask himself the question of “what actually is crazy’ and if he is crazy and as crazy as Tiffany has accepted herself to be, if he can still accept himself and his situation to find his silver lining. The realness and relatabebility of the film, that is displayed through its style and form, let’s Silver Linings Playbook direct the same question to its audience: what flaws do you need to accept and forgive in yourself to find your one shot at a silver lining?

Author: Kim Torres


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