After an eight month stint in a mental institution, Pat returns home to Philadelphia to live with his parents. Being gone for so long, Pats only real goal is to reconcile with his wife but when he meets Tiffany, a girl with her own baggage, Pats road to recovery is anything but what he planned. David O' Russell's Silver Linings Playbook is essentially a unique romantic comedy in which its two main protagonists are dealing with mental illness. Silver Linings Playbook's strongest quality from a dramatic standpoint is Pat, a character whose inability to accept his predicament is really what keeps him from getting better. He is in complete denial about his wife and this blind sense of hope is what ultimately inhibits him from getting better. Pat is a character diagnosed with bipolar disorder, leading him to speak his mind without any filter. The film relies a little too heavily on the characters mental conditions for the sake of comedy but the relationship which unfolds between Pat and Tiffany, who essentially is his savior, feels so honest and genuine that I was able to look past this exploitative quality. These two characters who society looks at as broken, can relate to each other and draw inspiration from one and other in touching ways. The film touches on this notion that everyone, not just Pat and Tiffany, have issues from Pat's dad to Tiffany's sister but I think the film could have developed this theme more. The visual storytelling is a little clunky with O'Russell mixing in whip pans and handheld to create this disjointed or almost chaotic feeling in an attempt to capture Pat's issues. While it definitely succeeds at putting us in Pat's shoes I just found it a little distracting and overused at times. At its heart Silver Linings Playbook is a love story about finding someone who appreciates you no matter your faults, and because of strong performances and a solid script it succeeds more than it fails.
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