Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
love and second chances
optimism / trying to look on the bright side of life
What should a Christian do if overwhelmed with depression? Answer
losing wife to another man
Gambling is toxic (1 Timothy 6:9-10)
|Featuring:||Jennifer Lawrence … Tiffany
Robert De Niro … Pat Solitano Sr.
Bradley Cooper … Pat Solitano
Julia Stiles … Veronica
Chris Tucker … Danny
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|Director:||David O. Russell—“Three Kings,” “The Fighters,” “I Heart Huckabees”|
The Weinstein Company
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The Weinstein Company
“Watch for the signs”
Even though Pat (Bradley Cooper) nearly killed his wife’s lover or even though she now has a restraining order against him, Pat is extremely optimistic about winning back her affections. Diagnosed with a bipolar disorder, Pat checks out of a mental hospital to the care of his anxious mother (Jacki Weaver). One can understand her anxiety, since not only is her son unstable, her husband also has his own set of mental problems.
Pat returns home to find his dad unemployed and gambling away his savings on the Philadelphia Eagles. His severe obsession with the NFL team is accompanied with ritualistic superstitions and addiction to gambling. The one person who can understand Pat the best is Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence). Mourning the loss of her husband, she has gone through her own rounds of therapy and medications. Though Pat finds her to be crazier, she soon helps him focus by offering him a deal. She’ll sneak a letter to his wife, if he agrees to be her dance partner for an upcoming competition.
Along the way, Tiffany and Pat have interesting exchanges. While she might come off as more neurotic, she’s actually more level headed than Pat. Tiffany knows exactly what her weaknesses are and what she wants. Drowning in denial, Pat is judgmental towards her and believes himself superior and optimistic. As their dance practices continue, a mutual acceptance emerges, and they surprisingly balance each other out.
This film doesn’t really fit into one genre; it’s a blend of drama and comedy interwoven with eclectic themes. In essence, perhaps it aims to show that not one character is perfect or ever finds their perfect anecdotes. What they find, instead, is support for one another. The primary focuses are football, the dance, and Pat’s journey to a sense of normalcy and potentially winning back his wife. While the film’s unconventional plot progresses effectively, it’s given an unrealistically happy Hollywood ending.
***SLIGHT SPOILER*** Due to time, Tiffany’s back story is understandably sacrificed to instead show Pat’s growth. Because of this, she is not shown to have many admirable qualities, so I never really bought the romance crescendo suddenly added to the two leads at the end. When Pat recognizes her enormous deception, he only remains thankful for it, while he and his ex-wife share a replicated “Lost in Translation” whispering moment. The film would have been more realistic and powerful if it gave a well-written ambiguous ending to match the rest of the story’s strength, perhaps Tiffany and Pat beginning a new chapter in their lives, etc. ***END SPOILER***
“Sliver Linings Playbook” does a good job of showing what it is like to live with someone who is not mentally stable. Pat doesn’t have a mental filter and tends to blurt out what he’s thinking (Ephesians 4:29). His episodes and outbursts are a great burden to his family, but they never abandon him. The film tries to show the different “silver linings” in helping someone who has mental struggles. It reminded me 1 Peter 4:8-9:
Some more food for thought—Gambling is shown in a negative light. When Pat’s father gambles everything away, he doubles a bet, and his family begs him not to, saying that gambling is toxic (1 Timothy 6:9-10). Tiffany and Pat’s parents decide to lie to him. Though the mother is reluctant, the others state that little white lies don’t matter (Luke 16:10). For the majority of the film, Pat wants to save his marriage. He even tells his friend that marriages are worth saving, making his friend think twice about his own relationship (Ephesians 4:2-3).
Some violence and brief nudity are shown. Pat elbows his mother in her face, though it may have been accidental. Afterward, Pat and his father get into a fight. While his father is slapping him, Pat mostly tries to ward off his father by pushing away his face. Brief flashbacks are shown of how Pat discovered his wife and fellow colleague together in the shower. As Pat walks into the bathroom, he sees his wife’s derrière and a man on his knees. A removable shower head is wrapped around the man’s neck, implying strangulation. As his wife tries to fight him off, her breasts are sometimes seen in quick shots.
In all I counted about 103 uses of vulgarity and profanity, including 70+ f__k, “Oh my God” (7), “Jesus Christ,” “Jesus” (2), “G_d d_mn” (3), “Oh G_d,” “Oh J_sus,” “For G_d’s sakes,” “Oh my L_rd,” “God,” “d_cks,” “hells” (5), “ass” (4), “damn” (2), and 24 “sh_t.” Though no actual sex scenes, there are detailed sexual discussions. After her husband’s death, Tiffany mourned through promiscuity. This resulted in her sleeping with nearly everyone at her workplace. She told Pat that although she’s no longer like that, it’s still a part of her, and she likes that. During their first outing, Pat becomes very interested in her sexual past and asks for intimate details. Tiffany offers to sleep with him, as long as they turn off the lights. He, however, declines stating that he’s married.
In the end, I wouldn’t be surprised if this film receives some award nominations. The performances are top notch, and the script provides detailed insight into the life of a flawed, candid character. But the rushed happy ending and high amount of objectionable content prevent me from personally recommending “Silver Linings Playbook”.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Heavy to extreme
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.