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Silver Linings Playbook was released in 2012 by The Weinstein Company. In the movie The Silver Linings Playbook, screenwriter David O. Russell portrays how different real life is from a normal American screenplay. This film is directed towards a wide audience ranging from young adults to people in their fifties. Diving into the stories of the main characters, Pat Solintano and Tiffany, assumptions are instantly made about the direction of the motion picture. Love is portrayed in the media as perfection. We strive for the ideals pictured in movies; the idea that a woman who loves a “beast” of a man can fix him, love at first sight is real, and that everything should be fixed perfectly. However, the film uses the expectation of the “norm” along with the actuality of how real life works to expose flaws in other forms of media that depict love and mental illness.
The story about Pat Solintano starts with him being released from a mental hospital after 8 months. Originally, Pat was placed into the hospital because he walked in on his wife cheating on him and he beat the man almost to death. During the unfolding of his trial, his unknown mental illnesses of Bipolar Disorder and OCD give context for his outburst. HIs wife decides to leave him and his life has fallen into shambles. David O. Russell uses the pathos style of appeal so that the audience shares the hurt that Pat is experiencing. Pat says to his therapist, “So yeah, I snapped. I almost beat him to death, but then I get f****ng chastised for it? I’m parallel to my Father? I don’t think so… After the incident I realized I have been dealing with this (Bipolar) my whole life.” The audience feels the hurt and sees a new perspective on a Hollywood relationship. Most films would depict the broken man healed by the love of his wife. However, Pat has been broken his whole life and was pushed to the point of no return by his situation. The writers play into the emotions of what it feels like to be used and show their audience that relationships don’t always have happy endings. life is hard and hurt is real.
The main plot of the story is about the relationship between Tiffany and Pat. Tiffany is from Pat’s Neighborhood in Philadelphia and has recently become a widow. Although Tiffany exhibits signs of Bipolar Disorder it is never said that she has a diagnosis. Both Tiffany and Pat are outcasts in their community and Tiffany offers to help Pat get his wife back if he participates in a dance competition for her. Russell uses Logos in the opposite way expected to drive the plot of the movie towards the most satisfying of endings. As Tiffany and Pat meet, the audience assumes them to be perfect for each other because they are both unmarried people whose past relationships ended in tragedy and left them broken. However, when running side by side the pair is screaming at each other and Pat says to Tiffany, “At least I am not the big slut!”. Tiffany then yells back at Pat, “I was a big slut, but I’m not anymore. There’s always gonna be a part of me that’s sloppy and dirty, but I like that, with all the other parts of myself. Can you say the same about yourself, f***er?! Can you forgive? Are you any good at that?”. This is not clean. This is not “cookie cutter” and Russel makes sure that the audience realizes that. The logic behind it is that the audience has repeatedly inhaled the idiotic idea of love at first sight with a small hiccup. Russell challenges media misconceptions by showing a relationship that is all hiccups with barely any glimmers of hope.
The climax of the movie is riddled with ups and downs. As the night of the dance approaches, the Eagles are also playing the Cowboys. Pat’s dad puts a double or nothing parlay that the Eagles have to beat the Cowboys and Tiffany and Pat have to get at least a 5 on their dance for him to win his money back. The dance approaches and Pat is late. Nikki, Pat’s ex-wife, is supposed to be coming to the dance but she isn’t at the time and everything that could go wrong is going wrong. Unbeknown to Pat, The Eagles have handedly beat the Cowboys 44-6. Amongst all the commotion Pat convinces Tiffany to still dance with him and it is beautiful. Everything starts to fall into place as Nikki arrives and they are about to receive the score of their dance. The judges give three 4.9 scores and one 5.4 for score to Tiffany and Pat resulting in an average score of 5. The money is won, Nikki is there and talking to Pat, but Tiffany can’t take it so she leaves. Russell now uses Pat’s dad to deliver the strongest example of ethos throughout the movie. Pat’s dad has always wanted the best for him so after Pat is done talking to Nikki he pulls Pat aside and says, ”Let me tell you, I know you don’t wanna listen to your father, I didn’t listen to mine but I’m telling you, you gotta pay attention to the signs. When life reaches out with a moment like this, it’s a sin if you don’t reach back. I’m telling you, it’s a sin if you don’t reach back, and it’ll haunt you for the rest of your days like a curse. You’re facing a big challenge in your life right now, at this very moment, right here. That girl loves you, she really loves you. And I don’t know if Nikki ever did, but she sure as hell doesn’t love you right now. I’m telling you, don’t f**k this up.”. The value of his father’s words hit the audience and Pat at the same time and Pat goes to chase after Tiffany. He catches her and explains how much he loves her and she says that she loves him too. The way this movie ends shows the audience that the unconventionalness of Pat and Tiffany’s love story portrays real life not fiction. A real story that is messy, emotional, and not expected is delivered to perfection by the key factor that it is not a perfect ending that puts Pat back with Nikki.
In conclusion, the points made in The Silver Linings Playbook are to challenge the myths about love most media from Hollywood promotes. This film does not require a perfect ending to leave the audience satisfied, love at first sight that makes trials seem less treacherous, or a love that fixes all tragic flaws in its characters. The film is in no need of these crutches because it uses appeals and the tragedy of real life. The Silver Linings Playbook is successful in all of its goals because it displays that life is hard and hurt is real.
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