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Silver Linings Playbook review: Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper’s performances show the beauty through mental rage

“The world will break your heart in ten ways to Sunday, that’s guaranteed”

At the end of the day we all have our kicks; we all have our little routines, our moments of rage, our very particular psyches, our superstitions, and will even undergo a little temper tantrum every now and again. Because well, we’re only human, and life’s just not fair sometimes. And say what you will about psychiatry, about therapy—labeling these mental “disorders” with a name, treating them by popping the right amount of dosage pill—but it’s in the true human emotion and natural state of physicality that we can really achieve our potential for inner greatness. Or at least that’s what diagnosed bi-polar Patrick (Bradley Cooper) has convinced himself after a brutal incident having to do with his wife that left him in a mental institution for 8 months in David O. Russell’s Oscar nominated film Silver Linings Playbook. 

After being released, Pat moves back to Philadelphia in his parents’ house to get his feet back on the ground. He is obsessed with the idea of him and his wife Nikki getting back together, though anyone that knows him knows the love he speaks of no longer exists, after the whole incident that left him in a mental institution in the first place. Still, even fully knowing this, Pat lives his life devoted to bettering himself for Nikki. He will do anything he can to reach her, even if it means showing up to the school they both used to work at with an active restraining order.

And after several run-ins with the cops on the streets violating his terms, it seems like Pat just can’t get it together—until one night he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) through his good friend Ronnie (David Ortiz) at dinner. The two have an immediate connection and sort of trail off into their own conversation; he agrees to walk her home, but at first Pat rejects her because she so quickly invites him in to “fuck her with the lights off,” something that appalls him greatly on his dedicated journey to getting back with Nikki.

Tiffany, a fellow bi-polar, is dealing with the recent loss of her husband but trying to implement her depression in a more positive way through mediums like dance. She can go from 0 to rage in about two seconds, so her and Bradley together can be quite an intense pair. But when Pat finds out Tiffany has a direct connection to contacting Nikki, he will do anything it takes to make sure she gets his letter—even if it means learning a ridiculous dance routine.

Silver Linings Playbook is a refreshing take on the human psyche, on the dysfunctionalities of life, love, and mental disorders; how love will make us do crazy things, how sports will make us do crazy things, and how in the end all it takes is a little bit of football, friends and family, and some dancing to make life quite alright.

(photo via Triangle Arts and Entertainment)

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Kaitlin Duffy is a writer from Cleveland. When she's not blogging or pondering the great complexities of the world and outer space, she is finding rare vinyl steals, visiting new places, laughing often, Instagramming everything in sight, watching movies, or working on her first feature Port de Cleve.