Ask a Psychiatrist: How Does Silver Linings Playbook Handle Mental Illness?

  • Vulture
Ask a Psychiatrist: How Does Silver Linings Playbook Handle Mental Illness?
It's to be expected that one (or both) of a romantic comedy's protagonists will go a little crazy in some way. Silver Linings Playbook takes things a step further: Bradley Cooper's character, Pat, is newly released from a mental hospital, and his romantic foil Tiffany (played by Jennifer Lawrence) is battling her own demons. Neither, however, has the typical Hollywood version of mental illness, i.e. "My second personality is a prostitute with a Cockney accent!"Pat's bipolar disorder and Tiffany's unnamed condition manifest themselves in ways that are realistically, even heartbreakingly mundane; Tiffany texts relative strangers for booty calls when she gets depressed, and Pat channels his mania into long jogs and rants about Hemingway. Yet the film has generated controversy among some reviewers about its portrayal of mental illness. Do the characters get off too easily, their symptoms falling by the wayside as soon as they find one another?
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