A few weeks ago I went to see David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook. Though I went to see it as a way to escape the mundane elements of my own life, I found that it made me think more about the day-to-day aspects of life for those suffering from mental illness.
Two of the main characters, Pat (Bradley Cooper), and Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), suffer from mental illnesses. The movie begins with Pat leaving a mental institution after spending a court-ordered eight months there. Pat, who is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, must learn to live his life with this illness and mend relationships that he had broken in the past. Meanwhile, he meets up with Tiffany, who is dealing with issues of her own. After her husband dies, she begins a downward spiral into depression and a series of poor life choices. These two share a unique sort of bond, talking about medications and their supposed “craziness”.
Though the movie, in my opinion, was a great way to shed light onto certain aspects of mental illnesses, much of the movie seemed to focus on the manic personalities of these two characters. Along with the somewhat overplay of their mental illnesses, the role of the therapist, Dr. Patel, seemed to upset some mental health professionals, believing that this was not an accurate portrayal, “A therapist should provide a place of all feelings. If Dr. Patel had, Pat might have discovered his sadness isn’t crazy at all,” said Dr. Kunst in her breakdown of the movie.
Though the movie may not have accurately depicted some aspects of mental health issues or mental health professionals, the fact that this type of movie was released and has been doing well at the box offices says a lot about our society and their acceptance of mental illnesses.
Unlike Pat, I believe there is a time to be sad and to grieve, and that is a natural part of being human as well as living with a mental illness. However, I did enjoy his philopsophy on trying to stay positive in life, he said, “This is what I believe to be true: you have to do everything you can and if you stay positive you have a shot at a silver lining.”