Movie Extra Credit: Silver Linings Playbook
How do Pat and Tiffany aid in each other’s recovery?
Pat is a bipolar man who has just been released from a mental hospital, who assaulted a man and developed mental issues after he witnessed his wife having an affair with said man. Tiffany is dealing with severe stress and/or anxiety issue after the death of her husband. Both seem to be sporadic in temperament and reserved in their feelings in the beginning of the plotline.
However, as time goes on, they form an unusual relationship of seemingly despising yet loving each other at the same time. Through Tiffany, Pat learns a valuable skill in dealing with a stimulant to his bipolar reaction (a Stevie Wonder song played both at his wedding, and during the cheating scene), realizes his false “love” for his ex-wife Nikki, and also what it means to interact again with society despite his pseudo-isolation in the mental institution. Through Pat, Tiffany discovers what it means to truly be in love again despite the ex-husbands death in a car accident and her subsequent frivolous sexual behavior.
Since the story is mostly centered on Pat’s road to recovery, it deals a lot with Pat’s personal life and how he interacts with his condition. For example, after reading an Ernest Hemingway book, Pat flips out, and breaks a window throwing his book. Another instance where Pat goes on a rampage is when he practically turns his house over, looking for his wedding video tape in the early morning. Throughout the story, Pat is portrayed as being obsessive over Nikki, improving himself for the sole cause of reuniting with her in the future. However, when Tiffany is exposed to Pat’s life, Pat takes a different approach towards reaching out to Nikki. Through dancing with Tiffany, Pat takes his mind off his troubles, while still being in pursuit of Nikki. However, nearing the end of the movie, Pat realizes that spending his time with Tiffany has made him more and more attracted to her. While Pat’s initial motive of dancing with Tiffany is solely to get a letter out to Nikki, he later realizes that Tiffany helps him cope with both the loss of Nikki as well as his condition, by taking his mind off things and giving him a common goal to strive for. Pat begins to do nothing but sleep and dance, disregarding the previous importance of Nikki. In the end, Pat shows his character maturity by confronting Nikki and claiming that his ability of love is so great, that he is willing to forgive her.
For Tiffany, the interaction with Pat helps take her mind off Tommy, her dead husband. Prior to Tommy’s death, Tiffany feels that she was deprived of sex. After his death, which involved lingerie for Tiffany in the front seat of a car crash, Tiffany attempted to make up by having sex with eleven different men at her workplace. However, with the introduction of pat into her life, Tiffany realizes that what she wants in her life isn’t necessarily nonstop sexual intercourse, but more of a friendly intimacy that she finds with Pat. Pat is especially relatable to Tiffany, as they are both viewed as mentally unwell, and can find solace in each other. Through dancing with Pat and resuming a strict regimen of training, the pursuit of the dance competition and the introduction to Pat’s family and friends, Tiffany herself also begins to heal through Pat.
It becomes evident that although both Pat and Tiffany most likely have had therapy in order to adjust their ways and help them cope with their problems, the traditional form of therapy sessions doesn’t necessarily help the two. Through their dancing regimen, it becomes evident that they themselves are recovering, as they both become more sociable and open to others. Pat also begins to mend his relationship with his father, with help from Tiffany, who claims that the luck for the Eagles doesn’t stem solely from Pat, but from the presence of Tiffany at that given moment as well. Their pursuit of a common goal helps them lead a more comfortable life and not think about their previous marriages, as shown in the last scene where they embrace on a sofa, neither of them wearing their wedding bands.