The entertainment industry, through films, plays a role in shaping public perceptions about psychological issues. Some movies use different characters to show the nature of the mental condition. The films portray characters struggling with psychological problems differently. Others depict matters of mental health in a horrifying manner that perpetuates biased perspectives towards the mentally ill (Clement et al., 2013). Some shows cast these characters in a positive way that is considerably informative to the viewers. This paper discusses the portrayal of mental illness in the movie "Silver Linings Playbook."
The film "Silver Linings Playbook," released in 2012, revolves around the main characters, Pat Solitano Jr. and Tiffany Maxwell. Solitano, diagnosed with bipolar disorder, has been in a mental clinic for eight months. Before spending time at the mental health facility, Solitano mercilessly beats a man who had an affair with his wife ("Silver Linings Playbook," 2012). He comes back home to the care of his parents, Solitano Sr. and Dolores. Pat hopes to get back with his ex-wife who divorced him due to his aggressive behavior.
Pat meets Tiffany during dinner at his friend's house. Tiffany is a young widow. She suffers from depression, guilt, and relationship issues. The two establish a connection, and as the movie progresses, they become close friends. In return for making a letter delivery to Nikki, Pat accepts to be Tiffany's dance partner in readiness for the competition ("Silver Linings Playbook," 2012). For Tiffany, dance is a form of therapy. The two later become lovers despite their mental issue.
The Portrayal of Psychological Disorders
The movie attributes Pat's aggressive behavior and violent outbursts to his mental condition. His reaction to finding out that his wife was unfaithful portrays patients who suffer from mental illnesses as dangerous people. Due to the incident, he has to spend time at a mental health facility seeking treatment. The film presents psychological issues in a humane way that gives hope to the viewers. Pat and Tiffany set on a path to find happiness and navigate through their problems ("Silver Linings Playbook," 2012). It details their struggles in a normal social context and highlights the challenges mentally ill persons undergo. The film adopts a humorous style to present a fair representation of characters with psychological issues and how they interact with others in society.
Critique of the Portrayal of Psychological Disorders
Whereas the movie is entertaining to the audience, it tends to oversimplify its representation of psychological issues. Diseases such as bipolar disorders are complex conditions with varying symptoms other than violence and aggressive behavior. The film's depiction of Pat's outbursts is a relatively accurate portrayal of irritability levels in patients with mental illnesses. Pat overreacts to Ernest Hemingway's book by throwing it out through a window. It frustrates him due to the story's sad ending.
The film portrays a scene where Pat's therapist, Dr. Patel plays a song that reminds Pat of the trauma that he endured. The representation is inaccurate as therapists are not supposed to provoke clients by using traumatizing triggers. In real life, doctors offer mentally ill patients unconditional positive regard and support. The film ends with Pat and Tiffany being in a relationship. Thus, union overlooks their complex psychological issues and presents love as a solution.
In conclusion, the movie's representation is reasonably accurate. Apart from a few shortcomings, it captures some aspects of mental illness well. The main characters, Pat and Tiffany, have psychological issues that impact their lives. They have a connection due to their mental health status. They navigate through their problems together and end up falling in love. Through the two actors, the film attempts a fair portrayal of mental health issues.
Clement, S., Lassman, F., Barley, E., EvansLacko, S., Williams, P., Yamaguchi, S., ... & Thornicroft, G. (2013). Mass media interventions for reducing mental healthrelated stigma. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD009453
Silver Linings Playbook (2012). Televisa. Retrieved from https://televisi21.tv/silver-linings-playbook-2012/#download
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