|In a rare string of events – for me anyway – I have been to the theater twice in the past month, first to see “Django Unchained” and then to see “Silver Linings Playbook.”
Both did not disappoint, but “Silver Linings Playbook” hit close to home for me.
Based on the novel of the same name by Matthew Quick, the film revolves around the life of Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) after he is released from a mental hospital.
A former history teacher, Pat was admitted to the hospital after coming home to find his wife Nikki having sex with a fellow teacher. Enraged, Pat almost beat the teacher to death and causes his wife gets a restraining order against him.
Pat moves in with his parents after leaving the hospital, convinced he doesn’t need medication and that if he works hard enough he can convince his wife to fall back into love with him.
Life begins to change for Pat when, at a dinner party a friend’s wife throws for his homecoming, he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) a sex addict who has been devastated by the recent death of her husband.
The two form a strange bond and eventually Tiffany convinces Pat that he can win his wife back if he will help Tiffany win a dance contest. Eventually life begins to change for the two, but I’ll leave it to you to find out.
Simply put, the reason this film hits home for me is that during my sophomore year of college I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
During my summer taking classes at Oxford I was prescribed some medications that sent me into a manic episode.
For the better part of a year, I couldn’t sleep for more than four hours at a time and my behavior became increasingly erratic. I talked incessantly and couldn’t sit still.
I drove professors and fellow students insane on bus trips and in class, much like Pat does in the film.
Since then I am always interested to see how it is portrayed in popular culture. Filmmakers haven’t really tackled it with an honest tone until now.
If you’ve seen the movie, Pat is constantly focusing on the fact that if he works hard and stay positive he will get his wife back.
It’s exactly what the mind of a person going through extreme mania would do. I too, thought the same thing vigorously while manic.
It may seem like a normal way of thinking and in a sense it is.
However, in the mind of a person with bipolar disorder it is the only thing one can focus on and it becomes an obsession that eats away at your mind.
When bipolar disorder goes untreated, the way depression and mania ebb and flow gets serious to the point where the two sit on top of each other until a person his happy and sad at the same time.
Bradley Cooper plays the moods very well and was nominated for an Oscar because of it.
Also, I was excited to see Jennifer Lawrence play Tiffany. She plays edgy very well and has also been nominated for an Oscar.
As the two get closer to each other, they start to affect their lives for the better.
Pat begins to view his life as a movie and hopes that it will have a happy ending.
I thought the same thing when I was having problems with my mind but I’m happy to know I haven’t had an episode in ten years.
If you haven’t seen the film, definitely check it out. It’s still in theaters for the Oscar push.
It will show you humanity among madness – the key to a quiet and happy mind.