The title of the movie (and its source novel) is a source of confusion for some, especially people not very familiar with idiomatic English. The "Silver Linings" part of the title comes from the common expression "every cloud has a silver lining," which means "look on the bright side" or "nothing is all bad." The first documented use of the phrase in this way is from John Milton's 1634 work "Comus I." A "Playbook" is a written or mental list of athletic strategies that a coach creates to guide a team through a game or a sport. So in combination, the title refers to an arsenal of strategies for Pat to use while trying to look on the brighter side of life.
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence spent weeks practicing the climactic ballroom dance routine with choreographer Mandy Moore. "None of that was improvised, absolutely not," asserts Lawrence. "I'm a terrible dancer, so I would never have been able to do any of that. When it finally came together, that scene really was just as fun as it feels." Lawrence even mentioned that compared to her, Cooper took to dancing quite naturally, when in fact it's her character Tiffany that's supposed to be the experienced dancer, and Pat, the amateur.
Jennifer Lawrence was more impressed with one of her co-stars than with the others. "I met Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, and Jacki Weaver all at the same time," she remembers. "Robert De Niro is standing right next to Jacki Weaver, and I go straight to Jacki and am like, 'Oh my God, I love Animal Kingdom (2010)! I love you!'"
Tiffany's appearance was originally more "goth", Jennifer Lawrence dyed her hair black and wore heavy dark makeup for costume tests but Harvey Weinstein disapproved, so the goth elements were toned down. Lawrence was also advised by David O. Russell to gain weight for the role.
Among its 8 Academy Award nominations, this film became the first to earn nods in all four acting categories since Reds (1981) and the first "Big Five" (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Writing) nominee since Million Dollar Baby (2004)
The film originally was intended to be directed by Sydney Pollack with Anthony Minghella producing. However, pre-production was shelved following the deaths of both men. It took 5 years and 25 rewrites before David O. Russell could direct it himself as Pollack told him it was tricky to have emotional, troubling, funny and romantic content mixed together.
During an interview with the National Public Radio program "Weekend Edition Sunday," Jacki Weaver said that David O. Russell gave her and Robert De Niro a back-story for their characters that included the fact that even though they had been married for thirty years, they still make love twice a week.
Throughout the movie, Dolores (Jacki Weaver) announces to her family and visiting friends that she has made "crabby snacks and homemades" for them to eat while watching football. Many critics and viewers outside of the Philadelphia area assumed this was some sort of term for a Philadelphia Eagles food tradition, but most Philadelphia-area viewers were just as mystified by the term as everyone else. Weaver herself, in a November 2012 New York Magazine interview, admitted that she couldn't remember what the term meant, although she had known at the time of shooting the movie. Finally, the Philadelphia Daily News reported that "crabby snacks" are a canapé that Doreen Quick (mother of Silver Linings Playbook source novelist Matthew Quick) used to make for gamedays and other gatherings. The recipe consists of canned crabmeat and processed cheese cooked together and spread onto English muffins, and cut into quarters. "Homemades" are egg noodles made from scratch.
Pat Sr.'s OCD requires his TV remotes to always be on the table next to the couch facing a certain way. At the end of the movie, the remotes are on the coffee table in front of the couch. A subtle reference to the fact that Pat Sr. has worked on controlling his OCD.
In the early release version of the movie Robert De Niro's character incorrectly states the Eagles beat the Cowboys 21 to 6. In the wide release version the correct score of the 2008 game has been dubbed in, and his character states the Eagles won 44-6.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
Jacki Weaver contributed to a critical aspect of the film. "I was sitting there with 300 other people in the ballroom watching the dance scene," she recalls. "It's crucial that they get 5 points in order to win the parlay bet. The judges kept holding up their scores in take after take. I'm not great at math, but I kept adding them up thinking, 'That doesn't add up to 5.' So I told one of the producers that it didn't average 5 and he said, 'Oh my God!' and they changed it. So yeah, I saved the film."