Friday, March 8, 2013

The Silver Linings Playbook

Just watched a wonderful movie at home, since I have nothing much to do today after sending my daughter to school. I was overwhelmed of the movie because somehow I could relate myself to the story, and It was adapted from a debut novel of an American author Matthew Quick which was released in hardcover on September 2, 2008. Starring Bradley Cooper (Pat Solitano), Jennifer Lawrence (Tiffany) and Chris Tucker (Danny). The screenplay was written by David O. Russell, who also directs the film. It received its debut at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, whee it was awarded the TIFF People's Choice Award. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards for 2013, including Best Picture, winning the Best Actress award. The screenplay made several changes to the plot, including changing Pat ethnicity to the Italian-American Pat Solitano, whose family lives in the working class suburb of Ridley Park, Pennysylvania. Most of the supporting characters, such as Danny, play much more significant roles than they do in the novel.

The book is narrated through the eyes of Pat Peoples, a former history teacher who has moved back to his childhood home in Collingswood, New Jersey, after spending time in a Baltimore neurology hospital. Pat believes he has only been away a few months, but soon realizes it has been years, and struggles to piece together his lost memories. He has a theory that life is a film created by God and that its "silver lining" will be his successful reunion with his wife Nikki.

Pat embarks on a plan of self-improvement that includes regular jogging and fitness exercise, and reading the works f American literature that his wife teaches her students. He grows upset after reading the tragic works of future suicides Ernest Hemingway and Sylvia Plath, nit understanding why the stories do not have happy endings. At a dinner with his friend Ronnie and his wife Veronica, Pat is introduced to Tiffany, who has also moved back home after losing her job after her husband's death.

As a condition of his release Pat makes regular visits to a therapist named Cliff Patel with whom he shares an enthusiasm for the Philadelphia Eagles. Pat is haunted by the music of saxophonist Kenny G. Dr. Patel deliberately triggers an outburst by playing "Songbird", a tune Pat associates with the event that had separated him from his wife, though he cannot remember the details of the event.

Pat and Tiffany become friends and they jog together regularly but say little to each other. They mentions she is "scouting" him for something. Much later, she explains that she wants him to be her dance partner, in return for which she will act as a go-between him and Nikki, circumventing a restraining order Nikki has taken out on him. Tiffany requires Pat to give up The Eagles until the competition is completed. His family and friends are annoyed and confused by his unexplained refusal to attend games, and as the team has a run of bad luck partially balme him.

Pat trains with Tiffany and performs in the dance contest. To his surprise, his friends and family attend the contest to support him. After the contest, Tiffany gives him several letters, supposedly written by Nikki. Pat wants to reunite with Nikki but Nikki demurs. Pat suggests a meeting, and despite no reply he slips away from his family on Christmas Day to meet Nikki. Nikki is not there; Tiffany is, and admits she has forged Nikki's letters and that she had been trying to help Pat moved on and gain closure with his marriage because she, Tiffany, is in love with Pat. Pat is furious that the last two months of correspondence were a lie. In shock Pat runs into an unfamiliar neighborhood and is mugged. By chance he encounters Danny, his roommate from the Baltimore mental facility. Danny helps him get to a hospital and reunite him with his family. Pat still doesn't recall how he was separated from his wife, and only when he watched his wedding video do the memories eventually return. 

After several weeks Pat recovers from his injuries, and after receiving a letter agrees to meet Tiffany. She explains that Ronnie and Jake had forbidden her from attending his birthday party. They talk and Pat explains that he went to see Nikki. Pat asked his brother Jake to drive him to see Nikki, and observed her from afar, finally realizing she has a new family and is happy, and thus accepts it as the ending of the movie of his life. Tiffany gives Pat a belated birthday present: a cloud chart, and they lie on the ground and watch the clouds together. Tiffany pulls Pat close and tells him she needs him. As they lie there on a frozen soccer field in the middle of a snowstorm, Pat kisses her on the forehead and says, "I think I need you too."

After seeing the movie, I was a bit disappointed because it was partly different from the novel, but I was teary-eyed and just like Pat, I am also hoping for a happily ever after.  :)


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