Silver Linings Playbook
By S. Jhoanna Robledo,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Offbeat dramedy mixes light and dark; some intense moments.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
No matter what your baggage is -- mental illness, past relationships, anger, a dysfunctional family -- you can find love (and yourself) if you commit to the journey.
Positive Role Models
The characters here are all very flawed, damaged, or both, and they make plenty of poor decisions. But they're also good-hearted, and, in the end, they try to do what's right for them and others. Pat's parents care a lot about him, even if they don't always know how to handle him. A tailgating scene includes some racist behavior, but it's clearly considered wrong/out of line.
Violence & Scariness
Talk of how one character beat up someone in a shower, and, in quick flashbacks, viewers see it happen (the bloody scenes go quickly and in a haze). The same character also has sudden angry outbursts that lead to yelling, tension, and damage; he throws an object through a glass window, abruptly knocks over a magazine stand at a doctor's office, and even gets into a fistfight with his father after knocking his mother down during one of his episodes. A fight erupts at a football tailgate party, and people are arrested.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Quick glimpses of a naked couple in a shower; we see them kissing, and her torso/breasts are visible. A woman discusses her sexual history/conquests. Two characters share a passionate kiss. A woman is shamed for her sexual past. Lots of tight/revealing costumes during a dance competition.
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Frequent but not incessant use of words including "f--k," "s--t," "damn," "a--hole," "slut," "d--k," "c--k," "hell," "bulls--t," "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation)," "oh my God," etc. Characters display raised middle fingers.
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Products & Purchases
Brands/products seen on screen or mentioned include Budweiser, Apple (iPods, laptops), Raisin Bran, and Pampers. There's also a lot of talk about the Philadelphia Eagles football team; characters are shown wearing their paraphernalia.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some drinking (wine, beer), mostly socially. In one scene, a woman goes to a bar with the clear intention of overindulging but doesn't get that far. Two characters catalogue the prescription medications they've tried. Some scenes show a man taking his meds.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although Silver Linings Playbook is an offbeat, affecting dramedy with many comedic moments and one-liners, the story it's telling is really quite dark: It's about two people hampered by mental illness and despondence, respectively, who try to claw their way back to a semblance of normalcy and happiness. It's a romantic film in many ways, as well as a study on dysfunctional families and what makes them work in their own strange (and sometimes uncomfortable) ways. There are references to sex, violence, and gambling, as well as some upsetting scenes in which a character's anger bursts out of control, sometimes leading to physical confrontations (including one in which he knocks his mother down and ends up in a fight with his father). Flashbacks include glimpses of a bloody beating and a naked couple in a shower; there's frequent swearing ("f--k," "s--t," and more) and some social drinking.
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Silver Linings Playbook
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What's the Story?
Fresh off a stint at a mental institution after beating up his estranged wife's lover -- and discovering belatedly that he's bipolar, with mood swings and even delusions triggered by stress -- Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper) is determined to win his spouse back. He's lost weight and has learned some healthy ways to cope with stress (including running), so he thinks he has a shot. But his aggrieved mother (Jacki Weaver) and cautious father (Robert DeNiro), who lost his job and is moonlighting as a bookie, aren't so sure. Enter Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), the sister-in-law of Pat's best friend. She's nursing her own wounds, having abruptly lost her cop husband and then drowning her sorrows by sleeping with everyone she knew. She wants a fresh start, too, and enlists Pat in a project that could mean turning a corner for both of them. But emotions soon get in the way, clouding their path.
Is It Any Good?
There are plenty of reasons to count your blessings if you watch SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK. The story, to start (which was adapted from Matthew Quick's novel of the same name). Offbeat and irreverent, it unfolds in a way you won't be able to predict, a gift in an industry that's propelled by far too much predictability. Casting Lawrence, DeNiro, and even Cooper (though he's not flawless) was also a stellar call.
The movie is refracted through Pat's prism, so it's sometimes jangly and bipolar. Like Pat, it's interesting, if a little abrupt in its mood shifts. And the second half is much more intense and compelling than the first half, plot-wise. Silver Linings' quirkiness is endearing, but sometimes, it feels a bit like it's straining to be different -- like it longs for the devil-may-care air of European or Australian romantic dramedies but can't quite get there. If it settled in and relaxed, it would be hard to match. As it stands, Silver Linings Playbook comes with much to recommend it, but, also like Pat, it has to work a little too hard to prove itself.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how the movie portrays mental illness. Does it cast a positive or negative light on the mentally ill? How does it compare to other movies and TV shows you've seen on the topic?
Is this film a romantic comedy? Why or why not? How does it turn the genre on its head?
Talk about Pat's breakdown and return to his family. Is his re-entry into regular life believable? Why does his family put up with his eccentricities?
Are the characters admirable? Are they meant to be?
- In theaters: November 16, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: April 30, 2013
- Cast: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro
- Director: David O. Russell
- Studio: Weinstein Co.
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Book Characters
- Run time: 122 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language and some sexual content/nudity
- Awards: Academy Award, Golden Globe
- Last updated: May 25, 2023
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