SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
I will say this straight up. I am not an expert on mental illness, I have no degrees, no qualifications, nothing. But I have been surrounded by people who suffer from mental illness. So I have seen first hand knowledge of the questioning that might occur from those suffering particular conditions and with the highs comes the lows. You have to recognise them and be careful not to cause a downhill spiral when a person is at their low.
The film “Silver Linings Playbook” by David O. Russell is based on the best selling book by Matthew Quick. There has been talk about whether mental illness has been depicted correctly. As I’ve said I’m no expert on the matter, but boy did some scenes in that film resonate with what I’ve seen. I’d like to highlight three things in particular. First, Pat’s constant questioning to Tiffany about her dead husband Tommy and not knowing when to stop talking about a matter, not recognising how uncomfortable it is for those around him. The other are the family dynamics in the film and how mental illness impacts those around them. Finally, on the other end of the spectrum is the generosity that comes with someone who has a mental illness, when they set their mind to something they will not stop until they have helped a person out (in the film’s case it is going through with the Dance contest to the very end).
In terms of the film overall, it was a great ensemble piece by everyone involved and in my opinion deserves the accolades it has received thus far. Cooper gives a career best performance as bipolar Pat whom the film centres around. Whether or not Jennifer Lawrence or Jessica Chastain wins the Oscar remains to be seen. Both would be worthy of winning for two extremely different roles. Lawrence’s Tiffany is an extrovert through and through and you see her feelings unravel as the film develops. While Chastain’s Maya represses all of her feelings until the very last frame of the film. If there is an acting category I could see “Silver Linings Playbook” walk away with, is Best Supporting Actor, De Niro is brilliant in the role as the concerned father who is more worried about his bookmaking business than his son at times. Even though Weaver’s role is small, she is the glue to keeping the family together.
There is one qualm I have about the film and it is this. I wish David O. Russell had kept his original ending. Instead we got an ending with a wrapped bow around it. The original ending was closer to the ending in Quick’s book. The chance of hope in the future, the potential of a silver lining.
If there is one thing, I hope people take away from “Silver Linings Playbook” it is this, there are people out there like Pat, Tiffany and their respective families and friends. So a “Silver Lining” to one person might sound like a ridiculous thing, but to others it could be the start of something new, in a refreshingly good way.
4.5 stars out of 5 stars.
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (rated M) opens in Australia on January 31, 2013 (sneak peeks from January 25, 2013) and will be released by Roadshow Films.