Silver Linings Playbook

Alternate Title: Swipe Right for Lunacy
2012 Nominee

A lot of the movie involves football, so I barely understood a word of that part. Basically, it’s about a dude getting treatment for bipolar disorder who leaves treatment and then tries to seek out his technically-still-wife, but also does a dance thing with this other woman who’s dealing with her own pile of mess and then they fall in love. It’s irrational’s response to the rom com.

Pat (Bradley Cooper) gets out of a mental institution after beating up a guy that he caught in the shower with his wife. Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), who’s hardcore grieving because her husband died in a freak accident. They bond over conversations about which meds they’ve taken and conversations about their own erratic behavior. Tiffany convinces Pat to compete in a dance competition with her – even though neither of them can really dance – because somehow that will please Pat’s ex-wife and get her to pay attention to him.

What bugs me is that movies like this perpetuate this idea that if unstable people love each other, that will solve all of their problems. That’s a dangerous misguidance, at the very least. If you are not mentally stable, another person is not responsible for your stuff. You have to work on it and take responsibility for yourself. I’m not saying you can’t fall in love, but you have to understand self-love before you could possibly demonstrate love to another human being to full capacity. This isn’t rocket science.

Tiffany and Pat both embody people with mental issues that need to be addressed (not necessarily with just meds), not tossed away because love means they don’t have any problems anymore. Between him waking up his parents in the middle of the night to bitch about Ernest Hemingway and her throwing a temper tantrum every time something doesn’t go her way, the movie plays like a couple of adults in a Freaky Friday-type situation where they’re really kids trapped in grown-up bodies and neither of them is really dealing with anything because they’re too busy making selfish choices that hurt other people.

I think I was supposed to fall in love with this movie, but I didn’t. It’s a movie that’s meant to convey the importance of staying  positive while still sending a message to people who are unstable or still working through some things that love will save you from yourself.
But you don’t need to be saved from yourself. Self-love is your salvation.

As someone with their own mental health concerns, the most positivity I’ve found is in accepting your life for what it is and continuing to grow even when things don’t work out as you envisioned. Disappearing inside another person as a means of forgetting what you have to do for yourself, now that’s just plain crazy.

Now it’s Your Turn…
Silver Linings Playbook was nominated for Best Picture in 2012, but did the Academy get it right?

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