How ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ Uses Football to Tell a Family Drama

The Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence classic explore the impact of football’s fan base while never revealing the sport or the game itself.

Silver Linings Playbook: Films about sports have been a popular source of entertainment for a long time up to the present. They blend the best aspects of watching sports and a film with the excitement of the actual game amplified by the drama of the characters and energetic camera movements. They often follow a particular team or season to convey the most concise and engaging story you can imagine. You might have noticed that the amount of films focusing on American football is much lower than those about other sports like baseball and basketball.

Filmmakers such as Aaron Sorkin and The Woman King‘s Gina Prince-Bythewood have shown us the factors that make these other sports the perfect subject for a film. That’s because these sports give filmmakers more cinematic representations. As opposed to other sports, football players have more intimate contact with one another for extended periods of time.

Additionally, they wear helmets that cover their faces. It doesn’t only limit the physical space in which you can put a camera for more exciting shots during games. However, the helmets also block viewers from seeing the players’ facial expressions to give the game scenes more emotional weight.

However, this Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence romantic comedy, Silver Linings Playbook, intends to be a unique type of football movie. It uses football in every way, without showing any actual sports. It’s not a film about football; it’s focused on the players and how football affects its fans and employs the game as a continuous metaphor to illustrate the narrative.

What about Is Silver Linings Playbook?

Before understanding why football is so significant to the film, you need to understand the story. The film is about Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) after he suffers a manic episode triggered by his wife’s cheating on him. After having a violent confrontation with one of the men she had a sexual relationship together to death, Pat receives a ruling from the judge that he must place in a psychiatric unit.

After a couple of months, the patient is released from the facility and returns to the ward, the home of his parents, Dolores and Pat Sr. ( Jacki Weaver and Robert De Niro). The entire ordeal results in Pat getting diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. It is a mental illness characterized by the fluctuation between episodes of intense mania and intense depression.

While getting his life back on track, Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), who assists him in finding some structure and meaning in his life. Alongside his friendship with Tiffany and his relationship with Tiffany, he also improves his relationships with members of his family, begins to take medication and can get rid of some of his unhealthy addictions.

Silver Linings Playbook Is a Different Kind of Football Movie

The first thing that the film does suitable with regards to football is how crucial communities are to this game. As opposed to other fandoms or hobbies dominated by sports, fans enjoy the advantage of regularly scheduled occasions intended to be social gatherings. This is true regardless of whether you are watching the sporting event on the actual stadium field, or arena, or in the comfort of your home, watching them on television.

The movie contrasts with other interests, such as film, where the action focuses on managing the screen at home or watching the movie in a room with others, and all are quiet. In football, there is a lot of downtime between games, allowing fans to talk about the game with their friends. The sport is based on socializing. This is reflected in other games day traditions people adhere to, like going to tailgates. The movie focuses on the 2nd act of the film when it has Pat goes to a tailgating event, and it serves as a way to reconnect with his best friend and brother.

In the same place, he encounters his Therapist, Doctor. Patel ( Anupam Kher). This is among the significant aspects of the film since Pat was not exactly sure of the Therapist Dr Patel early on in the movie since his therapy was required through the courts. However, after bonding due to their mutual love for the Eagles during their sessions, Pat finally sees his Therapist as a person rather than a governing authority persona.

Through the strength of fandom. This tailgate incident illustrates the negative aspect of fandoms when racist fanatics begin attacking Patel. Patel, which results in the whole party being returned home to its parents of Pat. Pat’s parents seem to be the authorities for all. However, their lives are shaped by football.

The Two Pats

Through this adventure, Pat’s life story is revealed through the eyes of his 2008 campaign for the Philadelphia Eagles. Pat, Sr. is an avid Eagles fan who earns most of his money from under-the-table betting on games. He’s also nervous in the same way as Pat. He has highly particular game day rituals on Sundays, which trigger great fear in him when they’re not observed.

It could be remotes needing to be at specific locations and people having to remain where they are seated if the Eagles were performing very well. Given Robert De Niro’s OCD tendencies being driven by the sport, it is also how he connects to his family and life. Football Sunday is among the few traditions in the family that appear to endure.

Pat, Jr. bookends the film by explaining the reasons why Sundays were his favourite times of the week. In both instances, he speaks about how it’s due to his family. He knows that playing sports is a way for his parents to show affection and love. Even though it can be difficult for him to cope with the rituals of his father, he enjoys it as an opportunity to bring his family together.

There’s an exciting scene from the movie where Pat, Sr., talks with the son about it. After having numerous disagreements with one another, He acknowledges that the reason he would like his family to be together on Sundays isn’t only because of his beliefs that it helps the Eagles perform better. It’s because it’s how he expresses his affection to his family by sharing the things he loves with them. He doesn’t be able to demonstrate appreciation, if not via the prism of a game. Do you know of any film that’s as “dad” as that? Perhaps the final scene in Field of Dreams, but that’s all it is.

“DeSean Jackson Is The Man”

Another way this film depicts football is the way it uses the sport as symbolism. In the movie, Pat, Jr. is frequently compared to an athlete named DeSean Jackson. Pat, Sr. specifically draws the comparison as Pat, Jr. believes Jackson ruins whole games by celebrating his wins before getting to the final zone. He believes that this is how Pat, Jr. treats his everyday life.

However, Pat, Jr. embraces the idea after being assured by his closest friend and Therapist, who said, “DeSean Jackson is the man”. The jersey is adorned with satisfaction. In the end, he impresses his family members by demonstrating that he doesn’t celebrate victories early; he’d be content to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments he has made instead of what is deemed a victory by others.

The whole cast functions as the football team. They collaborate as they plan around, understand their strengths and weaknesses and apply that knowledge to help each other through every situation. Tiffany mentions that the family’s ups and lowers throughout the movie reflect the successes and losses of the Eagles the season before. Families and teams are indivisible in practically every aspect.

“Sunday’s My Favorite Day Again”

What makes Silver Linings Playbook a football film is that it represents the values and traditions of the game, not the actual sport. The film is real and personal. As an audience member, it is easier to connect. The film conveys the nostalgia of our family’s peculiar and unique tradition surrounding the game.

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