Patrick J. Kennedy Reviews Silver Linings Playbook
As a public figure with bipolar disorder, the Oscar-nominated Silver Linings Playbook hit home with me, portraying my illness with compassion—and a dose of humor.
By Patrick J. Kennedy
The movies have always offered a refuge from reality, a few hours’ pause to sneak into the fantasies of an imaginary world or the dangers of a daring adventure. Buy a ticket to one of this year’s Oscar nominees for best picture and escape to a mythical bayou, take a journey alongside a wild tiger, or travel back in time to your choice of 19th-century settings.
Yet as the lights came up after Silver Linings Playbook, I knew I’d seen the most worthy contender for precisely the opposite reason: not because it transported me to another world, but because of how faithfully it reflected one I know too well. This special film isn’t a diversion from real life so much as a sensitive and significant recognition of it. It runs full speed into the experience of the disorders from which most people race away, peeling away with each stride the stigma that keeps too many from the treatment and compassion they need.
Like Bradley Cooper’s main character, also named Patrick, I’ve struggled with mental illness. To escape my reality—shame I couldn’t shake and depression darker than a movie theater—I spiraled down destructive addictions to alcohol and painkillers.