I tuned into the Oscars for the first time this year. I know. It sounds weird, but I never felt compelled to watch before. In the past, I’d catch the red carpet fashion on Monday morning and see the nominated movies if I got a chance. But this year, things were different.
On Sunday, I rooted for Silver Linings Playbook from my sofa. Not because it’s a movie about mental illness. I was rooting because it’s a movie about life, love, laughter AND mental illness.
By now, most people are aware of Silver Linings Playbook , it’s eight Oscar nominations and even Jennifer Lawrence’s famous fall. The movie gives us an honest portrayal of Pat (Bradley Cooper’s character) who grapples with his diagnosis of bi-polar disorder and the influence mental illness has on his life. Pat struggles after losing his wife, his job, his stable life and must learn to start fresh. Not to mention, Pat must decide to either cope with the side effects his medication yields or cope with his mental illness without medication.
It’s a jarring, honest look at what living with a mental illness means. However, Silver Linings Playbook tells us a familiar story, too. One most people can relate to… a story you may even call ‘normal’. It’s a story of falling in love, having desires, setting personal goals, managing family dynamics and overall, surviving all of life’s ups and downs. It’s a story of struggling to find yourself and your place in this world. It’s a story that we all live.
That’s why I rooted for Silver Linings Playbook. I don’t want the buzz about this movie and the open dialogue it’s creating for mental health issues to fade from the headlines. Viewers see past the stereotypes they may have about what a person diagnosed with a mental illness looks like and sounds like and acts like. The movie is begins to erode the stigma surrounding mental health issues and for that, it deserves 1,000 awards.