Making the Grades
With nominations and awards piling up, Silver Linings Playbook is an R-rated film that is working its way out of relative obscurity. And after Oscar night 2013, it has had even more accolades piled on. While this story of a mentally unstable man falling in love with an equally crazy girl may not sound like it has teen appeal, when you have Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence playing the couple there’s bound to be instant adolescent interest.
We meet Cooper’s character, Pat, in a psychiatric hospital. He suffers from bipolar depression and anger management issues that turned out to be an explosive combo when he discovered a man in the shower with his wife, then severely beat him. After eight months of rehab he’s given a conditional discharge to go live with his OCD father (Robert De Niro) and passive mother (Jacki Weaver).
In spite of a restraining order Pat is hoping to somehow win back the affection of his estranged wife (Brea Bee). In the meantime he is introduced to Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a young woman with her own set of issues—including dealing with the death of her spouse by having sex with virtually every person she works with. (That choice also led to her losing her job.) Their initial meeting over dinner ends with Tiffany offering the same opportunity to Pat. Fortunately he’s smart enough to turn her down and continues to reject her further offerings of companionship… until she plays her best card. Through another contact she can get a letter to Pat’s wife without risking him violating the restraining order.
Parents will want to give serious consideration about their teen’s readiness for this title. Along with its adult themes, the movie contains dozens of sexual expletives (two used in a sexual context), scatological slang, crude anatomical references and two terms of Christian deity. The flashbacks of a shower scene show some brief female breast nudity and implied sexual activity. Conversations frequently deal with sex, depression and mental health. And there are depictions of verbal arguments, physical power struggles and outright fistfights that occur over inappropriate behavior, infidelity and a character’s derogatory racial remarks.
This mature story has had particular praise from those who understand and/or suffer from some of the emotional and metal issues portrayed in the film. And this cast does deliver outstanding performances. However (objectionable content issues aside) if you can’t feel empathy for this irrational protagonist, his obsessive father or the morally loose Tiffany, you may have a hard time finding the silver lining that so many others are basking in.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Silver Linings Playbook.
How does this movie depict mental illness? Do you think its portrayal will be helpful for others struggling with this condition? Does it assist those who are friends or family of these suffers? Does the comedic context make this message more accessible to those who don’t understand?
Read how a former congressman who has struggled with mental illness feels about this movie.
Silver Linings Playbook won
Trailers & Clips