Friday, May 31, 2013

RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS MOVIE WEEKEND: SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Do I have a movie for you today! I know some of you saw it and loved it because you mentioned it on your blogs. It's the outstanding Silver Linings Playbook (2012, Rated R, available on DVD).



Doctors discover that Pat Solatano, Jr. (Bradley Cooper) has undiagnosed bipolar disorder when he nearly beats to death a man having an affair with his wife, Nikki. Sentenced to spend a minimum of eight months in a mental institution, Pat's time is up, but doctors think he should stay put. Instead, Pat convinces his mother, Dolores (Jacki Weaver), to check him out and take him to stay in his parents' home.

Pat thinks he can get back his old job as a substitute teacher and reunite with Nikki by using magical thinking to find the silver lining in everything. However, we learn quickly that Pat is not stable. The song played for the first dance at his wedding sends him into a frenzy. His first night at home, he doesn't sleep, instead scanning a book, becoming irritated with it, and throwing it through a window.

His father, Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro), has problems of his own. Because of OCD, he must have the remote controls for his television laid out in a certain way. He's lost his job and become a bookie. He angrily nags Pat Jr. to watch football with him, insisting that Pat's presence will affect the outcome of the games.

But then Pat Jr. meets a young widow who demands his help with a project. She's Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), and she has plenty of problems of her own. Gradually, their relationship changes their lives.

I love Silver Linings Playbook. It's sad and it's funny and it's uplifting. It's well written, well shot, and the acting is great. It was nominated for a whole slew of Academy Awards, and Jennifer Lawrence took home the Best Actress statue. I also think it's important for audiences to see that plenty of regular people have mental illnesses, and they are treatable illnesses. As a country, as a society, we need to reduce the stigma associated with mental problems. I'll tell you right now that Silver Linings Playbook has The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval.

I have some problems with this movie, however. The characters are stereotypes. Pat Sr. has OCD and I suspect also has undiagnosed bipolar disorder. Pat Jr. is the classic bipolar disorder patient who thinks he doesn't need medication. Dolores is the enabler. Tiffany is the troubled woman with a heart of gold.

SPOILER ALERT REGARDING THE NEXT PARAGRAPH:


But the stereotypes don't bother me too much because Silver Linings Playbook provides a glimpse of what it's like to live with someone who has a mental illness. I love a happy ending, but I'm concerned with the "love can save everyone" plot point. Viewers might say, Aw, this is so sweet, and won't notice everything that actually goes into helping Pat Jr. improve. Pat Sr. also seems better by the end of the movie, simply because one gambling deal went well with Pat Jr.'s help. Dolores's behavior seems transformed into well-designed motherly love because Tiffany's pursuit of Pat was a "random" act of kindness engineered by Dolores.


END OF SPOILER ALERT:

Although it's rated R, I think you can allow teens about age 14 and older to watch Silver Linings Playbook with you, as long as you discuss it afterwards.

And now, I wish you a beautiful weekend filled with peace and not too much house and yard work. Spending time with the people you love and doing what you can to improve the state of the world, pursuing healthy passions – well, you already know living a life filled with acts of kindness is more important than a spotless kitchen floor.

Many thanks to my Middle Child Elisa at The Crazy Life of a Writing Mom for setting up this week's blogfest. I've read so many good posts, and hope to read more.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug



32 comments:

  1. I loved this movie I thought it was quirky in all the right ways. Funny you post this today as my IF was about movies. Great minds and all I guess.

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    1. Great minds? Oh, yeah, you'd better believe it, baby.

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  2. I'm glad you liked it. It's the first movie that you've reviewed that I have loved. I thought Bradley Cooper was better than Jennifer Lawrence. I need to buy this one.

    The shrink was the best!

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    1. Yes, the shrink is hilarious at the football game. Bradley Cooper was very good, but I don't think he really had a chance with the Academy Award because of other excellent performances. Jennifer Lawrence wasn't up against such a tough field because Meryl Streep wasn't nominated.

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  3. Silver linings are rare for people with mental illness. The movie doesn't sound too realistic.

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    1. Aspects of it are very realistic. It shows how people with these illnesses tend to behave. But the happy feel good stuff isn't so realistic, or at least we should know that it's probably temporary.

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    2. I think the movie also suggests that believing in silver linings doesn't work; we have to make things happen. Pat's life changes when he makes an effort.

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  4. The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval.... Is that a fact? Now I know I must see this movie. Good thing it's Friday! :)

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    1. You'd better believe this movie is a must see. It's good. I says so.

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  5. we enjoyed that movie so much- and what you say is so true. My internet is out and I'm having to type this on my phone, so I'm feeling a little bipolar, too!

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    1. Oh, I hope your internet is back soon!

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  6. I have to say that Bradley Cooper is the yummiest of yummy and I'd watch anything he's in just cuz he's in it. I fell in with him back when I watched Alias. Yummy, yum, yum...!!!

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    1. I fell for him when he had a tiny part on Sex And The City. I think he was on for about three minutes, and I said, Bradley Cooper, you may have your way with me. And he did. I love being a slut.

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  7. Thanks--I just ordered it on Netflix!!

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  8. I really liked it, too--and had some of the same reservations about the happy ending, but it still left enough issues that you can kind of assume things are not going to go perfectly--LOL! Old Dad still had his issues and so did the love couple. But it was the most realistic movie I've seen about the irrationality and outbursts and fantasy thinking and all the rest. Thumbs up over here, too. :)

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    1. Good comment. Thanks. I think it's so good to give people an idea of what it's like to live with a mental illness.

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  9. The reply to a reply button doesn't work har! Anyway, so yeah, I'm going to have a good look. Because you says so. :)

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    1. And when I says so, you should listens.

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    2. Let's be careful.... We don't want to end up sounding like Yoda. For strange talking this is.

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    3. People comment so often that I look just like Yoda and really should make it my business to train Jedi knights. How did you know?

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  10. I've seen this at Redbox and wanted to watch it. I'll have to check it out ;)

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    1. I think you'd love this movie, and it would give you a bit of an idea of what it was like to live with Dr. X.

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  11. Damn. Now that it has YOUR HIGHEST SEAL OF APPROVAL there's no way I'll find it in Redbox. :(

    Have been wondering about it though... maybe I'll take a jaunt out for ice cream and see if it is in fact in the Red Box. :)

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    1. Oh, dear. I feel sooooooo guilty. Now I have the power to create a run on Red Box. And just think of what I do with Netflix. Millions add movies to their queues because of me. Ah, the shame, the guilt. Ah, humanity.

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  12. Hi Janie .. it's a film I missed and need to get to see - so it's on the radar .. thanks for the review - good to read about it ..

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. I hope you like it, Hilary. I think you will.

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  13. This movie sounds interesting. I know several bipolar people who are not faring so well.

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    1. Dr. X has bipolar disorder so I'm very familiar with it. Once I recognized it in a movie character who, later in the movie, was diagnosed as having the disorder. That movie, The Informant, is based on the experiences of a scientist named Mark Whitacre. I became Facebook and e-mail friends with Mark and his wife. Mark is doing very well and hasn't needed medication for quite some time. But if you watch the movie, please be aware that it distorts the facts and he was far more ill than the movie portrays it.

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  14. I have heard of this movie but since I don't watch moives I have not seen it........

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  15. I will watch this movie -- today -- I hope it is still on DirecTV. My husband is in Los Angeles for the day, so this would be great for me. I have patiently sat through so many basket ball semi-finals, I deserve a break!

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  16. Hello again. :) This movie I did not like. I thought the acting was fabulous & loved the premise, but the points you make in the highlighted paragraph ruined the movie as a whole for me. Somewhere about midway it lost all its charm when I could see that what I'd thought would be a great, realistic movie was headed straight for fairytale land.

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