Book vs Movie: Silver Linings Playbook

Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) is a middle-aged man who is released into his parents' custody after serving eight months in a mental health facility. Determined to reconcile with his estranged wife, he is fully invested in his physical and emotional health unlike ever before. After an introduction to a friend's sister-in-law, Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), the two strike up an uncommon friendship sharing a common ground of spousal loss and neuroses.

One of my favorite aspects of the novel, which was completely removed from the film, was that Pat believed his life was a movie designed by God. Pat's beliefs replicated a system of repercussions and rewards: if he didn't exercise it was a sin; if he did, he was in for blessings galore. It was a coping mechanism of Pat staying on track to winning his ex-wife and played into his EXCELSIOR motto. This part of the plot is completely removed in the film because one could only think that perhaps audiences wouldn't fall for this part of his behavior. But I felt it really did a disservice.

Author Matthew Quick gives Pat an ultra-unique voice mixing emotional instability with naivete. Cooper captures the rhythm of the character with spot-on accuracy.  It was pretty much like seeing the main character jump off the page onto the screen, and why he was one of my favorite TOP picks for the 2012 Oscar race.

Running up is the casting of supporting players - Robert DeNiro, Jackie Weaver, and Chris Tucker. Even though they removed the 'God' aspect of the book, I enjoyed that the other characters are similar to how they are written. Specifically, the kinship between Tucker and Cooper stayed, and the impact of the father's temper had on Pat's upbringing was also kept intact. The parallel scenes of the fist fight in the attic between Pat and Pat Sr., to Pat Sr. crying to Pat Jr. is great condensed moments of their relationship.

One of my favorite features of Russells' past work is his music selection. For films like The Fighter, he knows how to rev up a small scene with the use of music. I appreciated not only the mix of music genres but that Russell really used Pat's wedding song as a trigger for his problems.

This is where I became the internet's least favorite person. I wanted so much to love Jennifer Lawrence like the rest of the universe, but I felt the role of Tiffany falls short. A majority of this performance was over-hyped and shadowed other worthier Best Actress contenders.

When Tiffany comes onto the scene, I feel like too soon she's declared as his cure to us, the audience, by how she is the total opposite yet equal to Pat. He doesn't discover what we know until the very end, which means much of the film is spent with Tiffany showing up wherever Pat is to whip out verbal venom. I think about a million exclamation points were used in the script because - to me - Lawrence only yells throughout the entire film.

I don't feel the movie goes into Pat's psyche deeply enough. To him, every cloud is a silver lining, and his passion to win back his wife is far more than a few trips to therapy and a connection with an equally unbalanced counterpart.

Equally, maybe O'Russell failed Lawrence, or Lawrence fails Tiffany, but her character is often regarded by fans of the movie and even Lawrence herself as a crazy, sex addict.

*SPOILER* Tiffany's husband obsessed was physically addicted to Tiffany. He couldn't get enough of her sexually, but she was getting tired of their rampant sex life. After a fight and he went to the mall to buy Victoria's Secret lingerie for her to help her feel sexier about herself, he was killed by a drunk driver. She has multiple partners after his death  (i.e. have sex in the dark) so she can re-imagine being with her husband. *END SPOILER* 

I know Tiffany explains how her husband died to Pat, but I felt the emotional background to her present life was completely lost.


Bradley and Jennifer's chemistry ties the film together. As a couple, they find all of their qualities accepted and reflected in the other person. Even though the book ends differently, and this can be accepted as another difference in the plot. The film ends with a  hilarious dance routine that culminates the film. It's not about being the perfect ten. Together they become the other's savior, and like the book, the movie gives hope that everyone can fall find that one person they belong with.

Rating: TIE. Silver Linings Playbook ultimately gives Cooper an opportunity to declare himself as a damn good actor and a cast who supports him all the way through. The movie itself does what it can - be exceptionally different from the book while still tugging on the heartstrings of a reader...

Rating: ★★☆

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