Finding the Silver Lining
Director David O. Russel reveals “peace through insanity” within the romance of two mentally ill lovers as they find each other and themselves despite their own personal handicaps
The mental status of people and the oddities of human behavior in general has been a big factor in numerous films. Something about out-of-the-ordinary actions and peculiarities spark the viewers’ interest. Psychological thrillers make our hearts jump, while other movies that aim more to satisfy morally and emotionally have characters with plot-points centered on the mental health of certain individuals.
Either way, there’s a fascination with the unknown that makes a story more appealing. Seeing a character struggle through their personal hardships and handicaps draws in the audience and causes them to stay until the climax.
The most recent movie to weave such a story about not just one, but two characters who find peace through insanity is Silver Linings Playbook, to be released on DVD April 21. Directed by David O. Russell and based on the novel by Matthew Quick, this film speculates on the importance of devotion, family and curiosity.
Recently released from a mental institution, Pat (Bradley Cooper) lives his life in a state of obsession, which stems from his discovery of his wife’s infidelity.
Desperate to win her back, despite the restraining order she has against him, Pat’s strive to contact his once-lover becomes a psychological adventure for him, as well as his friends and family, who are periodically telling him that he needs to let go of the past. During his unrelenting search for ways to gain back his old life, he meets the widowed Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), whose husband’s death has driven her to lose belief in not only herself, but in her mind.
As the two grow closer, the story begins to transform into more of an offbeat romance than one of psychosomatic insecurities.
Acting madder than you are is a lot more difficult than it seems. It involves embarrassment and losing yourself in the mind of another person.
Both Lawrence and Cooper were nominated for Academy Awards for both of their performances, and it’s no surprise why. Neither holds back in displaying the adversity in their character’s life and how radical their severe actions are in the eyes of a normal person.
They’re quick-mouthed and witty, they’re expressive and touching, and at some times they’re even unsustainable and disturbing.
At the Oscar ceremony, Lawrence took the award for her work in the film. Cooper may not have shared this feat with her, but his acting was still a commendable effort that made the movie memorable.
Nora Ephron, an acclaimed screenplay writer, was quoted at the Academy Awards, saying, “I think the hardest part about writing is writing.”
There is no doubt that piecing together such a downhearted story that in the latter half blooms into a daring adoration would be difficult. David O. Russel not only directed but also wrote the adapted screenplay, converting the story into what the audience sees as a could-be poster child of how to make a film believable: with believable writing.
When state of mind is questioned in a fictional universe, there are countless areas to explore when it comes to motivation, reaction and dialogue.
The chaos fixed between both Cooper and Lawrence’s stressed persons create a world of turmoil that Russel was able to create in his imaginative screenplay.
Without a good script, a viewer can’t feel a character nor how they should connect with a scene and subsequently respond with satisfaction. But the bamboozled work Russel made is authentic enough to make the story convincing and the acting plausible.
Prevailing from the depths of tragedy, evolving through curiosity and learning the meaning of oneself, Silver Linings Playbook brings together an excellent cast, impressive directing and a peculiar narrative to fashion an award winning account of a discombobulated adoration born from the hopeless isolation of two melancholy individuals.