Countdown to the Oscars: Silver Linings Playbook Gets All Gold Stars!

As I work my way through all the nominees for Best Picture, they keep getting better and better!  First, why are there so many?  There used to only be 5 or 6 nominees, and the last few years there’s been 10!  And second, how will I ever choose my absolute favorite?  

If I had to put my vote in for one so far, I’d pick Silver Linings Playbook.  Nominated for 8 Academy Awards including Best Directing and Writing by David O. Russell, you may recall his work from the previously nominated film, The Fighter, as well as the existential comedy I Heart Huckabees.  Silver Linings Playbook stole my heart.  If I had to compare it to anything, it reminded me of Zach Braff’s Garden State, because it is a story about finding oneself again after dealing with depression.

In this film, SLP tells the story of Pat Solitano (played by Bradley Cooper – who, if anyone was going to steal an Oscar from Daniel Day-Lewis, it should be this man!).  Pat has just been released from a mental institution after a breakdown and diagnosis of bi-polar disorder have overtaken his life.  Moving back in with his parents, and facing a restraining order from his ex-wife, he tries to put his life back together.  To help him along, comes the most unusual of friends, a girl by the name of Tiffany, who is dealing with her own struggles, but finds a way for them to help each other.

The cast in this movie blew me away!  It’s no wonder with all the acting nominations this film received.  Bradley Cooper, of course, is nominated and I’m so impressed with his dramatic role.  I already adored Jennifer Lawrence, and at only 22 years old, this is her second nomination for Actress in a Leading Role!  She was previously nominated for Winter’s Bone.  She has already taken the Golden Globe for Lead Actress in a Musical/Comedy genre.  I truly hope the “Curse of the Golden Globes” does not take her out of the Oscar running!  I would weep!

bostonartsdiary.com

To round out the supporting cast, we have two additional heavy hitters, the biggest being THE Robert De Niro, playing Pat Sr. and nominated for Best Supporting Actor.  He is brilliant as a father who doesn’t know how to communicate to his grown boys beyond watching baseball.  And funny!  In an entirely different way from Meet the Parents comedy.

Jacki Weaver – imdb.com

My favorite performance of the film goes to Best Supporting Actress nominee Jacki Weaver!  This is her second nomination, you may remember her role in Animal Kingdom, which was a violent story of a boy trying to get by in his criminal household.  Playing Dolores Solitano, Weaver is the typical mom who is trying to keep everyone together.  Keep the peace, and you keep the family kind of mentality.  “C’mon, stay!  I made crabbysnack and homemades!”  I love this woman!  She is brilliant.  I’m rooting for Weaver to take home an Oscar!

Though he wasn’t nominated, I give nods to Chris Tucker who plays Danny, a friend and recovering drug addict that Pat befriends in the hospital.  His performance lent much to the comedic value of the movie.  And, I will forever love Tucker who played Ruby Rhod in the sci-fi cult classic, The Fifth Element.

To give you more of the meat of the story, while marketed as a comedy, be aware it’s a dramatic comedy, a dramedy, if you will.  But I tend to love those.  Sometimes life is so heavy, all you can do to lift yourself up is laugh!  Yes, Pat is a man who must deal with a lot.  His undiagnosed bi-polar disorder is something he and his family aren’t use to.  He must find new ways to control his anger.  We see the uphill and downhill battle that is medication.  We see him lose control at seemingly harmless circumstances.  What helps him is his belief in a “silver lining.”

silver lining

noun – a sign of hope in an unfortunate or gloomy situation; a bright prospect

His motto for life becomes Excelsior, a latin word meaning “ever upward.”  So as much as life became difficult and trying for Pat and his family, his story was a message of hope.  The belief that things will always get better, and that those who try to get better, will.

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I’m betting each of us has experienced a period, or more, in our lives where life was not what we thought it would be.  For me, it was my sophomore year of college.  I was living with a girl who I thought was my best friend.  A girl I wanted to someday be in my wedding, go get our dream jobs, and laugh about the funny things our kids did.  During the school year, I noticed she was depressed.  She had gone once or twice to a counseling group, but didn’t or couldn’t connect with the individuals there.  I tried to be there for her.  I listened to her, offered advice, suggestions for other groups or questions to ask.  She wasn’t ready.  In the end, it seemed I was caring too much and so her anger came out at me.  She would pick fights with me all the time, drawing hurtful things and placing them by my bed.  I began avoiding our dorm room altogether.  I did it for months.  Just going from class to class, hanging out in study areas and sometimes sleeping in a friend’s room.  It got so bad I moved out.  And shortly after that, I also got dumped by my long distance boyfriend, who I thought I was going to marry.  Was I naive?  Yes.  Was I blaming myself for her behaviors?  Yes.  It was an awful end to the year.  I lost a bunch of weight and didn’t even notice til I went home and my dad and old boss asked me if I was eating ok at school.  I lost a bunch of friends in that move because she lived on the same floor with them, so they usually asked her out and didn’t come to see me, when I was one floor down.

It was an incredibly hurtful time.  Even though the move was difficult, it was for the best.  I was able to focus on school and earned some great opportunities working with literary journals.  I joined the women’s student organization that I would later lead as president.  And six months after all the drama, I met the wonderful man I’m still with today, 6 1/2 years later.

*****

I thoroughly loved this film.  I am hoping that it earns many awards.  It is incredibly well written, and exceptionally well acted.  I think Pat’s story is one all of us can relate to.  And each of us is responsible for finding our own silver lining.  And who knows, we could also be the silver lining for someone we least expect.

Have you seen Silver Linings Playbook yet?  Do you want to?  

Share with us a time you felt set back in life.  What was your silver lining?  Are you feeling down right now?  Let me be your silver lining!  I wish nothing but hope and excitement for life for each of you!  Ever upwards, friends!  Say it with me, “Excelsior!”

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17 responses

  1. This is a must-see for me. I adore J-Law, too. (Why wouldn’t I? She’s hot! And, a great actress. Nice combination there). It’s a lot tougher to find time to go see all these movies, though. Being unemployed sucked, but I cherished those $5 Tuesday movies and remember with fondness 2011, when I ended up seeing every nominated film. This year, I’m stuck at Argo.

    1. I’m hoping to catch em all except Amour. Being the foreign film I don’t think my town theaters will get it.

      Sounds like you owe Tara a date night!

  2. Such a good movie. It’s great to be reminded of the silver linings. I say a big Yay for hope. 🙂

    1. Yes! For sure! I also loved that this film taught anyone could start over at any time in life.

  3. I still haven’t seen it! How can that be? Next week. For sure. It’s important to think about silver linings. Hope survives!

    1. Ooh let me know what you think! I loved this film!

  4. I recently had an afternoon to myself and thought I’d go see this movie. To my surprise, when I told my husband, he asked me to wait for him. We haven’t seen it yet! It’s definitely on my list, though. Thanks for reminding me!

    1. Oooh, I loved it Julie, so I hope you and the hubby have a good time out together. Let me know what you think. Like Diane Capri was talking about on FB, it does have some dark moments in it – bipolar disorder is anything but easy to deal with. But I think that’s why the comic moments were so spot on. It’s all situational stuff and the acting is superb.

      Caught the SAG awards, another win for Daniel Day-Lewis. Hmm…me thinks my Bradley Cooper isn’t going to take home the Oscar, but I really WANT him too.

  5. Thanks for explaining what the movie is about! I’ve seen previews and had no idea. I was thinking it had something to do with hockey. From your description is sounds more like something similar to The Marriage Plot (which I loved!), but from a man’s point of view. It will go on my “put it in the que when it comes out on Netflix” list.

    1. Have you ever seen Garden State? It was like a more serious version of that. But still funny.

      …I really want to watch Garden State now.

  6. Jennifer Lawrence is amazing in this movie. In previous pictures she only gave us a hint of how much she is talented, but in this movie she had shown her whole potential. I think she is even better than Bradley Cooper. In years to come we will see so much more of her. I must admit I’m becoming a fan.

    1. Me too! I think she’s one to really watch. Hoping she’s got lots more to come!

      Starting with the second Hunger Games movie! Squee!

  7. Admittedly I’m not a huge Bradley Cooper fan (some of his movies are dumb, though that might be the scripts) but this does sound intriguing. I’m always wary of Hollywood’s take on mental illness though…there tends to be an oversimplification of complex conditions like autism, schizophrenia, etc. How do you think they did on that in SLP?

    I’ve had some difficult stretches in the last few years, the silver lining has been learning to refine my attitudes and behaviors constantly so that I’m improving every day. I think being able to both analyze and express my true self is a pretty good result. I mean, it leads to some hard realizations at times, but I’m not one of those people who hides things very well from myself anyway.

    1. Hmm, I think you’ll like Silver Linings Playbook, but I think you’ll really like Beasts of the Southern Wild. It’s just got so much in it that someone like you will love all that it makes you contemplate! I’ll be posting a review on that one monday!

      1. Yup, I’ve seen it, probably need to see it again though…one of the best if not the best from last year

  8. I REALLY want to see this!!

    1. Well get on that, Tiff! You and your guy should plan a date night OUT! LOL

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