Silver Linings Playbook and What It Can Teach Writers

So! My birthday was Saturday and my husband wanted to take me out. Dinner would have been nice, especially dinner I didn’t have to cook, but I really didn’t feel like getting all dressed up to go eat. So what to do?

My hubs has it made here. I’m a pretty easy-to-please kind of girl. He could have 1) taken me to a book store and bought me books 2) taken me to hear some live music or 3) taken me to a movie and I would have had been thrilled.

On this occasion, we chose Option #3. A movie.

There were a few films I really wanted to see: Warm Bodies, Hansel and Gretel and Silver Linings Playbook. Zombies, Witch Hunters or Bradley Cooper. That might seem like an easy choice for some LOL, but it wasn’t for me. I had no idea which one to choose. So I turned to Rotten Tomatoes. Warm Bodies had 4 stars, Hansel and Gretel had ONE star, and Silver Linings had 4 1/2.

I have to say: Hansel and Gretel was my first choice until I saw that rating. I love Renner and I love fairy tales. But I didn’t want to pick a crappy movie for a rare night out with the hubs.

So I went with Silver Linings Playbook. And I’ll be honest. I had no idea what it was about. When I looked at Rotten Tomatoes, I only looked at the rating. Not the description. All I knew was that it did great at the Golden Globes and that it starred Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert De Niro. How could you go wrong with that combo?

I’m not sure you can. The movie blew me away.

Here’s a blurb from IMDB:

After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.

Now. THAT does nothing to prepare you for this movie. Here’s what I can tell you without ruining it:

1) Bradley Cooper was phenomenal. He showed an entirely different side of his acting ability. If Hugh Jackman and Les Mis hadn’t happened, LOL, Bradley Cooper would have taken home a Golden Globe.

2) Jennifer Lawrence was phenomenal too. Her crazy moments were about as believable as it gets.

3) Robert De Niro. Well. He’s Robert De Niro. And he was so good that I cried for him and hated him all at the same time.

4) This is a different kind of film than people will be used to seeing. It sheds light on  medical issues society tends to ignore.

5) It had me smiling one second…then staring wide-eyed at the screen in disbelief the next. I would seriously be laughing then all of a sudden, things weren’t so funny.

6) It left me with a good feeling because it showed a view of mental illness most people never get to see and understand and I loved the characters…flaws and all. 

7) This movie is a study in character and even story telling for writers. Our writing doesn’t have to be so cookie cutter blah. It’s okay to twist things up. It’s okay to have really flawed characters, and I don’t just mean characters tortured because their spouse or lover or parents died. I see so much of that in books. There are more things in life than physical death that can flaw us. And I’m not just talking about the superficial flaws like stubborn, self-centered, blah, blah, blah. I’m talking deeper flaws. SCARS. Scars that have altered the way we live. Sometimes it’s living with the flaws in one’s own family that makes their story unique. Sometimes it’s metaphorical death. A divorce, loss of a job, a house, pride. Sometimes, the flaws we already have CAUSE the damage that sets a story in motion. We writers tend to look for an event to occur that springs our protagonist into turmoil. Something random. But what if their flaws and issues CAUSED that event?

This movie will make you think. About a lot of things. I highly recommend that you all head out and see it ASAP šŸ™‚ Then come back and tell me what you thought.

If you’ve seen it, what were your thoughts??? (Watch spoilers, please)

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  1. Ohhhhhh, I like this post! At a time when I'm starting to plot a new book, you've echoed my thoughts…no need to kill someone to have your hero in turmoil! Well said.

  2. Excellent plot,faultless acting and a no-nonsense direction makes this movie a delight to watch.Despite the serious issues this movies deals with,you will find yourself nodding and smiling at times.Plus it was nice to see Anupam Kher as a doctor,without being a stereotypical Indian.

  3. The movie was very interesting romantic love story.Pat became mad eventhough and at last Nikki got him back. So i like this picture and i will suggest my friends to see very good lovely story.