Why the guy should always get the girl: A lesson from the Silver Linings Playbook
February 14, 2013
I don’t know how many of you have taken the chance to see The Silver Linings Playbook yet, but I highly recommend it.
The bit is about two star-crossed lovers, each with his and her own set of deeply troubling issues. To say these people are crazy would be an understatement. They are crazy, their families are crazy, their friends are crazy. In other words, it’s realistic. (Unless you happen to be the only normal person on the planet.)
Here’s the blurb from Rotten Tomatoes:
Life doesn’t always go according to plan. Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper) has lost everything — his house, his job, and his wife. He now finds himself living back with his mother (Jacki Weaver) and father (Robert DeNiro) after spending eight months is a state institution on a plea bargain. Pat is determined to rebuild his life, remain positive and reunite with his wife, despite the challenging circumstances of their separation. All Pat’s parents want is for him to get back on his feet-and to share their family’s obsession with the Philadelphia Eagles football team. When Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a mysterious girl with problems of her own, things get complicated. Tiffany offers to help Pat reconnect with his wife, but only if he’ll do something very important for her in return. As their deal plays out, an unexpected bond begins to form between them, and silver linings appear in both of their lives.
Intriguing to say the least.
One of my favorite scenes occurs near the first of the movie when Bradley Cooper is spending his first night at home after eight months in lock up. On the way home, he has stopped by the library and checked out some books, one of which is Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. At four o-clock in the morning he finishes the book, closes it and in a rage hurls it out the second story window of his bedroom. Then he rushes in to his parents’ bedroom and rants about the book.
“Hemingway has this couple get together, the guy survives the war, they hook up and run off to the mountains, everything is beautiful. Then the girl dies. Who does this Hemingway guy think he is?” Cooper tells them. “What way is that to end a book?”
Throughout the movie, for some reason, I kept thinking of Sophie’s Choice, the brilliant 1982 film in which Meryl Streep portrays a woman who has survived the Nazi death camps. Later she takes up with Kevin Kline, himself a damaged piece of property, psychotic, charming, dangerous.
As you watch Sophie’s Choice, you know things can’t turn out well. And they don’t. They happen along the lines of a Farewell to Arms.
The Silver Linings Playbook could have taken the same tack, but it didn’t. I worried all the way along that it would.
Why did I worry?
Because I wanted the guy to get the girl. And I wanted them to live happily ever after.
Call me a hopeless romantic, but I never get tired of watching happy endings.
Maybe I should write a book with one some day.
Oh, and what Valentine’s Day would be complete without the Temptations?
(Stephen Woodfin is an attorney and author. He wishes all of you a happy Valentine’s Day.)