Silver Linings Playbook: Scripted?

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Spolier-alert!

I just read a blog post with some lukewarm commentary about the film, and it got me to thinking. So this is mainly a rebuttal to the criticism lodged at the “feel good” ending of the film as being a typical Hollywood stilt. Granted, I can see why some would view the ending as part of a larger scheme to win the hearts of the audience, but then again, what’s so wrong with that? It’s far from a Nicholas Sparks book-turned-movie, which follows the same pre-programmed and gag-inducing story arc time and time again: rebellious youth shows up in a new town/situation; said youth falls for their antithesis personified–very much bad boy/choir girl type of deal; their love struggles through hardship but before long proves unconditional; someone dies tragically; more suffering and pining; they end up in each other’s arms.
Note: One of them might be holding a corpse. Ugh. Disgusting. And I’m not talking about the corpse. Please tell me, how can anyone actually enjoy these movies?
I should stop, I’m probably offending people, but in all honesty, if you’re a Sparks-head, you should probably go. Go on. Scoot! šŸ˜‰

Sorry, digressions are an occupational hazard of mine. Getting back to the movie, I’m opposed to the idea that a happy ending detracts from the movie’s worth. Indeed, if the main character Pat would have ended up with his ex-wife, whom he hopelessly pursued for much of the film, I would’ve been very disappointed. The connection between Pat’s desire for a happy literary ending and his own happiness is clear. He even mentions it with Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms and how he can’t stand the way life is already fucked up enough as it is without making literature that way too.

We could speculate all day, thinking Pat and Tiffany won’t last very long because of their “afflictions” (arbitrarily defined by the APA, I might add), but perhaps their “dis-order” is simply such that they can see the world in a different way and interact with it accordingly. They make this point in the film as well, and I don’t think it’s meant to be a simple case of denial. There’s definite legitimacy to this argument. So, I don’t think it’s two “broken” people coming together, I think it’s two dysfunctional people (albeit in a different way from most others) that want to test the waters of their unconventional relationship. Yes, it’s contingent on a lot of factors, but what isn’t?

The author of the post kept referring to Pat’s ex-wife as his wife, and that he should have remained on his quest to win her over. Oddly enough, a point no one seemed to be making is the unequivocal one that his wife cheated on him! I mean, jeez, I’m all about forgiving someone who’s made a mistake, but let’s not sanctify her and vilify him in the process, either. Their marriage was clearly on the rocks, and Pat’s delusion was in denying this. His relationship with Tiffany finally lifted that veil clouding his vision. His ex-wife had clearly moved on. Can’t we be happy that he did the same, without a shred of judgment or spite?

Great movie, though. Definitely worth watching, happy ending and all.

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