Jennifer Lawrence won a Golden Globe last night for her work in Silver Linings Playbook, and the movie is up for 8 Academy Awards this year, including Best Picture.
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As I watched the film, I couldn’t help but think, “Wow. There’s a whole lot of crazy in this movie.” I was startled by the loud family interactions, the physical violence, and the evident emotional pain felt by these characters. By the end of the movie, however, it seemed like a very realistic and relatable portrayal of the personal and family trials we all experience. And from the developing romance between Pat (Bradley Cooper) and Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), we are reminded of the following 3 lessons in love:
1. Be Patient. From the very start, Pat was adamant about getting back together with his ex-wife Nikki. But he knew it would not happen immediately, and was willing to put in the time and work he thought necessary to achieve his goal. When he finally realized his feelings for Tiffany, he again practiced patience. Pat waited until after the dance competition to express his feelings, probably to avoid distracting Tiffany from the competition that was so important to her. Tiffany also waited to express her feelings for Pat, and from this we are reminded of the importance of timing in romantic relationships.
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2. Love is not about perfect people having a perfect story. Pat was recently released from 8 months at a mental health facility for bipolar disorder, and Tiffany is recovering from sex addiction after being widowed. The characters are complicated and very real. Their connection is based on Pat’s desire to reconnect with his ex-wife, as Tiffany lies and says she would help him. By the end of the movie, we see that a true connection has developed between the two, one they both have interest in exploring. The convoluted way the couple comes together reminds us that love isn’t about finding mutual perfection; it’s about finding mutual acceptance.
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3. “You have to do everything you can. You have to work your hardest. If you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining.” In a session with his therapist, Pat expresses his view on life. While it might not read as very optimistic, Pat’s attitude throughout the movie is quite positive, and he says this as he coveys his commitment to improving his life. This quote reminds us that although life will be hard and our relationships will be difficult, there is joy to be found, if you work for it.
Rebecca A. Marquis is the author of How to Be a Good Boyfriend: 34 ways to keep her from getting annoying, jealous, or crazy.