Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook. Does the syntax of the title sound a little like Good Will Hunting, the Gus Van Sant classic, in which therapy and therapists are the chosen arena of cinematic scrutiny? Of this genre, Silver Linings Playbook resembles another recent release, The Sessions to the extent that the vessel is romantic comedy. Good Will Hunting and earlier cinematic approaches to mental illness, like Ordinary People fell more into the realms of drama and melodrama and in the case of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, black humor. Bipolar disorder is the mental illness du jour with David O. Russell, who wrote and directed the movie, picking up on the ubiquity of a diagnosis which seems to encompass an increasingly large swath of behaviors. Students of DSM-IV will probably have a hay day with the film’s ragtag diagnoses and medications amongst them Klonopin, Lithium and Xanax--now all household names. However, the main symptoms shown by the film’s main character, Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper), are a form of mania that takes the form of grandiosity and compulsive pollyanaism manifested in his insistence that every cloud has a silver lining. Pat’s love interest is Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) who self-deprecatingly refers to herself as “a crazy slut with a dead husband.” But mental illness is everywhere, in this latter day Snake Pit. The supposedly sane characters like Pat’s father (Robert De Niro), a bookmaker, and would be restauranteur all have their problems which include OCD and delusional thinking. The movie is really Americana, to the extent that it’s a melting pot of symptoms and treatments that include football in the guise of an Indian born therapist Dr. Patel (Anupam Kher) who is a Philadelphia Eagles fan to another great American past time, dance competitions, whose cinematic provenance goes back as far as Sidney Lumet’s They Shoot Horses, Don’t They (l969).

1 comment:

  1. If there's one reason why you should see this film, it's to admire the wonderful performances from Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.


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