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Review: 'Silver Linings Playbook' inspires audience

By Alex Jacobi
On February 13, 2013

Based on the novel by Matthew Quick, "Silver Linings Playbook" shows the story of a man with bipolar disorder, Pat Solitano, Jr. (Bradley Cooper), losing his job and wife yet finding a silver lining through it all in family, friends and a dance.

The story begins with Pat leaving a mental institution to return to living with his parents (Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver). During this period, he battles his demons by taking up running and reading. Throughout the movie, he is determined to make it out of the darkness, saying in the beginning of the movie, "You have to do everything you can and if you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining."

One night, upon eating dinner with a friend, he meets Tiffany Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence), a young widow and recovering sex addict. As the story progresses, she becomes his friend who promises to get a letter to his wife if he will dance with her in a competition. Through this process of rehearsing every Sunday, Pat finds joy and purpose and finds who he is outside of his wife, outside of the pain, to where in the end, after the competition when he finally sees his wife, he is able to walk away and find new meaning without her.

Although I've never read the book, I sincerely want to now, because this movie was so powerful. I think many of us understand what it's like to feel the weights of a mental disorder or a period of depression or loss, and this movie just captures that fight so eloquently with bits of humor thrown in.

Also, I have now become a fan of Jennifer Lawrence, because she truly made me believe that she was Tiffany Maxwell and not that girl I saw on the Hunger Games posters. I also loved her character because she was raw and gritty, yet compassionate in her continual giving to Pat.

Overall, I think this movie not only is good because it gives those with mental disorders hope, but also because it shows their struggle in a realistic way. It shows that you need people to get through the darkness, even if it's just meeting with a person once a week or spending time with your family, and also you can't just completely make all of it go away by wishing on a star or finding some magical solution. The reality of depression or bipolar disorder or addictions is that it's something carried each day, and it only gets easier when we allow the love of others to help us carry it.

I think what Pat says at the end of the movie sums it up so well, "The world will break your heart ten ways to Sunday. That's guaranteed. I can't begin to explain that. Or the craziness inside myself and everyone else. But guess what? Sunday's my favorite day again. I think of what everyone did for me, and I feel like a very lucky guy."

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