December 3, 2014

There's Always A Silver Lining: Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Positive people are infectious, which is a good thing. They see the world and everything in it as either an opportunity or a sign that something great will come along. I like to consider myself a positive person, but I wasn't always this way. I used to refer to myself as a realist, but the truth is, realism is just a smarty pants justification when someone calls you negative.

Unlike negative people who are often looking for the proverbial ball to drop in any situation, positive people always seem to find a silver lining....no matter what. I like that attitude and have to come to appreciate any and all interactions that I have with positive people, because it has become apparent to me, over the years, that positivity reverberates. So, if you or I want to have good things happen to us, then we have to stop being negative and be more positive,i.e. look for the silver lining. The movie Silver Linings Playbook (2012) is a great example of this lesson.

Silver Linings Playbook (2012), is about a man named Pat Solatano, Jr. (Bradley Cooper), who despite having bipolar disorder is refreshingly (or naively optimistic) on a quest to reunite with this estranged wife after being released from a mental health facility, only to learn that in the process of attempting to make that happen, a new silver lining in his own life was being revealed to him in the form of a new love, Tiffany Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence). Despite an awkward "meet cute," Pat and Tiffany had a lot in common and reluctantly pursued a friendship that over time, blossomed into love; just what both of them needed to save themselves from their past relationships. But, of course, there were obstacles on the road to their happy ending.

From the moment the audience was introduced to Pat, we learned that his personal motto was "excelsior," which basically means to reach for something higher, to strive. This is no surprise since he was not only working on improving his physical self, but also his mental self. The only problem with that plan was that he was only trying to improve so that he could eventually win back the love and affection of his estranged wife, Nikki (Brea Bee). In other words, he wasn't on a quest for self improvement for the sake of being a better version of himself. However, when Tiffany came along (whom he deemed a distraction in his process), he was forced to face the truth about his life's purpose and see what was right in front of him.

In the end, Pat not only was able to maintain his upward movement towards being the best version of himself, but found also love in an unlikely source. And, the best part is that he didn't have to compromise his beliefs that there is a silver lining in everything. In fact, he probably learned a thing or two about his own motto when love showed up in the process of him trying to accomplish his goals. It also helped that there were people in his life, along the way, that were there to help ensure that he stayed the course of self improvement.

With or without the layer of complexity in the storyline of Pat having bipolar disorder, the same truth still applies to all of us with respect to the importance of positive thinking. Sometimes it may be obvious what the silver lining is and sometimes we may have to look a little deeper, but the point is to focus on finding it. Because that's what positive, happy people do and who doesn't want that, right? 

Wow! I can't believe I made it through an entire post about a Bradley Cooper movie and didn't once mention his good looks. Oh wait, I just did!


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