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.
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Against medical advice and without the knowledge of her husband Pat Solatano Sr., caring Dolores Solatano discharges her adult son, Pat Solatano Jr., from a Maryland mental health institution after his minimum eight month court ordered stint. The condition of the release includes Pat Jr. moving back in with his parents in their Philadelphia home. Although Pat Jr.'s institutionalization was due to him beating up the lover of his wife Nikki, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Nikki has since left him and has received a restraining order against him. Although he is on medication (which he doesn't take because of the way it makes him feel) and has mandatory therapy sessions, Pat Jr. feels like he can manage on the outside solely by healthy living and looking for the "silver linings" in his life. His goals are to get his old job back as a substitute teacher, but more importantly reunite with Nikki. He finds there are certain instances where he doesn't cope well, however no less so ... Written by
Based on a novel by Matthew Quick, David O Russell has both written and directed this variation on the romantic comedy in which both main characters are deeply damaged and variably medicated.
Patrick used to be a teacher before he beat up a fellow teacher (he deserved it) and was diagnosed as bi-polar and confined to a mental institution for eight months. Tiffany used to be married to a cop who died in circumstances for which she feels blame and she has not been behaving as quietly and demurely as is expected of the newly bereaved. Both lead roles are played by attractive and talented young actors: Bradley Cooper ("The Hangover") and Jennifer Lawrence ("The Hunger Games") and, by the time I caught up with the movie on DVD, Lawrence had been awarded a deserved Academy Award for Best Actress for this quirky performance.
One of the distinctive features of this wonderful film is that most of the characters are obsessive to one extent and in one form or another, most notably Pat's father who is charmingly portrayed by veteran Robert de Niro. At turns funny and poignant, this is at heart a plea for us to be tolerant of others because - let's face it - we're all a little crazy.
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