Silver Linings Playbook: Oscar Nominated Movie Reveals Bipolar Disorder

I am always interested when a major motion picture takes on the topic of mental illness.  For better or for worse these movies do help to shape the public’s ideas about the topic.  I plan to see this movie when it’s available.  I must share that the movie is rated R for language and sexual content so be aware of this if you choose to see this movie.  Allan

Taken from  Citizen Times  which is located    HERE.

After reading a few articles on how mothers could get along better and become more in sync with their young teen daughters, I decided to take mine out to the movies.

Just the two of us.

I’d already seen “Silver Linings Playbook” and fallen in love with it. The writing is sharp, direction and acting superb, and my daughter is a huge Jennifer Lawrence fan, having admired her famous role as Katniss in “The Hunger Games.”

I enjoyed “Silver Linings” because — unlike Hollywood films such as “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Psycho” and others exaggerating mental illness — this one showed the real side of what it’s like to live and, yes, thrive with a diagnosis that has stigmatized many of us.

Having endured and recovered from my own bouts with depression, anxiety and a mood disorder that included a brief stay in a hospital, I couldn’t have been more pleased with how writer-director David O. Russell handled this material with such dignity.

By most estimates, a quarter of all Americans suffer from a diagnosable mental illness at some point in their lives.

According to an editorial in the Boston Globe, few acknowledge their struggle publicly because of shame and fear of being judged or stigmatized.

For those who need daily meds for proper brain functioning, this adds another layer of fear and lack of empathy perceived from others. Many even quit their meds, not wanting to be labeled.

This needs to change if our world is going to heal, the violence cease and we are to become aware of those needing mental health care.

And we must also be willing to see those who need it get the treatment necessary instead of harsh opinions backed with nothing but alienation.

“Silver Linings” is about a man, played by Bradley Cooper, who suffers from bipolar disorder and has just been released after eight months in a psychiatric hospital for a violent attack against the man who was having an affair with his wife.

Having lost everything, he moves back in with his parents, his father played brilliantly by Robert De Niro, who also suffers from behavioral extremes and obsessive compulsive disorder.

The beauty of the movie is that when Cooper’s character takes his medication and finds a purpose in life and the support of his family, healing and living a rather normal and fulfilling life become possible.

The turning point for him is meeting another quirky character, played by Jennifer Lawrence, a widow lost in her own mental issues and dark grief.

The first half-hour is difficult to watch, particularly if you have bipolar disorder or are close to someone who is affected by this illness.

The depiction, however, is right on the mark. Cooper’s character suffers sleeplessness, paranoia, rages and mania, and nothing that spews from his mouth is censored. He is also bright and lovable, and his huge heart settles into the right place.

He becomes so much more than a diagnosis.

I think Patrick Kennedy, who also suffers from bipolar disorder, summed it up well in an editorial in the Boston Globe.

The former Rhode Island U.S. representative wrote that more people with serious mental illnesses should talk publicly about their conditions.

“We need our families, friends and folks who just like going to the movies to understand that the 100 million Americans suffering with mental illness are not lost souls or lost causes,” Kennedy wrote.

His editorial referred to the taboo of mental illness as “one of the great civil rights challenges of our times.” (His piece was posted on the Daily Beast.)

Once a man who emphasized the privacy of those with mental illness, Kennedy is now asking more people with these diagnoses to step into the spotlight so that we can all work to improve health services for those who need them.

“Silver Linings” does just that. It opens the door, and in walks compassion, humor, healing and plenty of hilarious and heartwarming moments.

It sheds a positive beam and gives people with bipolar disorder and other illnesses a chance to show the world what they can become, with proper treatment and a solid emotional support system.

“We’re fully capable of getting better, being happy and building rewarding relationships,” Kennedy wrote.

And after all we’ve lost in recent months, because of shootings and violence at the hands of those considered suffering from “undiagnosed” mental issues, this nation can’t afford any more last-minute realizations of missed warning signs, Kennedy said.

Kudos to Russell for making this picture and to Matthew Quick for writing this book by the same name.

When the Oscars roll around Feb. 24, this little gem is up for eight Academy Awards, including all four acting categories. No movie since “Reds” in 1981 has achieved this best-acting landslide.

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5 Responses

  1. Reblogged this on Follow Me Films and commented:
    I can only aspire to such great writing..Good Luck to SLP at the Oscars and ahead!

  2. Love your review, I totally agree with you, it’s like you spoke my mind. I fell in love with Jennifer Lawrence’s talent and acting and I really enjoyed this movie because it’s not a traditional romantic comedy with a set structure. thanks a lot

  3. Julie, I am waiting to see the film when it is available for rental. I am glad to read you enjoyed the film. Thanks for dropping by!

  4. My husband and I went after reading your review. I thought the film was good and that it was sensitive to the issues of mental illness. I have to admit that Robert Di Nero made me cry. The torment of how he may have affected his son’s mental health in some way was so very real. Like all parents who have mental illness (he has OCD in the film) and have children who have inherited it in some way …they possess a certain guilt and question their entire life. I was fearful of how the movie might end….but it was excellent…and that’s all I will say so as not to spoil it for others.

  5. lg53, Now I can’t wait to see this movie. I’m so happy you enjoyed it. Also…. i wish I wrote the article but alas, I did not! :)

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