Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A true Silver Lining

Award season in Hollywood is underway and it is something I have always enjoyed watching.  I love to go to movies because they are a great escape from everyday life.  However, this year has been unlike any other for me this season.  In the past I have been very sceptical of a movie that deals with mental illness.  Most of the time they write the stories through stereotypes and cause more harm than good.  So after the movie The Silver Linings Playbook was nominated for best picture I had to check it out for myself. 

I must say though after the movie I was really touched and moved and I thought they did a wonderful job of portraying mental illness in a true light.  Bradley Cooper did an amazing job playing a person with Bipolar Disorder and I can see why he has been nominated for best actor for The Academy Awards, The SAG Awards, and The Golden Globes to name just a few.  It was so refreshing to see how living with Bipolar Disorder really looks.  I loved the way how it did not just focus on the illness but focused on the family and friends dealing with it.  I have said many times that a great support system is very key to surviving with Bipolar Disorder.  I could relate so much to the story though mine is different.  One of the most touching scenes in the movie is when Robert De Niro's character sits on his son's bed and starts blaming himself and wondering what he could of done differently.  I can relate to this so much because both of my parents have at one time or another blamed them self for my illness.  Even after almost 25 years they still at times feel that way.  Of course the truth is that no one is to blame because is it something a person is born with from day one.  The best thing a friend or family member can do is to just try to be there for that person, try to understand it as best that they can and help them in their time of need. 

I really do not want to spoil the movie for anyone that has not had the pleasure to see this movie so I hope I have not given up too much already.  However, I do want to mention that Jennifer Lawrence did an amazing job playing opposite of Bradley Cooper.  The speech she gave at The SAG awards however is one of the most important things she has done for the understanding of mental illness and bringing more attention to mental illness.  She said something in her speech that I did not know but explains to me why the movie is done so realistically.   She, in her own words "thanked the Director David O. Russell for making the film for his son so that he wouldn't feel alone and so that he could feel understood... you've helped more than your son"  I was in tears when she said that because anyone with a mental illness just wants to feel understood. 

This of course led me to look up the story of the Director David O. Russell.   His son does have Bipolar Disorder and now I can see why the movie is so realistic because he has lived with it. I am currently reading the book from which this movie's screenplay was adapted from. It was written by Matthew Quick and when the late Sydney Pollack gave David O. Russell the novel several years ago he knew it was a great fit and a film he knew he wanted to make.  I can't thank him enough for bringing the right type of attention to this disorder and I think it helps more people truly understand what it is like to live with a mental illness or with someone that has one.  In an interview he said  and I quote, "I was looking for a story that I could tell that would reflect my older's son experience in the world, and make him feel like part of the world." This is wonderful because movies do need to be made that bring better understanding of mental illness and hopefully chip away just a little more of the stigma that goes with it.