Optimists are the ones who look on the bright side of matters and have the resiliency to survive defeats and disappointments. They cling to that belief like a raft in a storm, until the negative events or temporary setbacks subsides. David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook" (2012) is about one of those optimistic young man staggering in a sea of troubles. The film uses Oscar-worthy performers to distract us from the formulaic nature of the plot and we all might guess where this one is headed right from the start, but the trip is sheer pleasure and filled with surprising, strange detours.
PlotPat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) is a former high-school teacher with bi-polar disorder. His wife's affair with another teacher brings him to meltdown state. He gets admitted to a psychiatric hospital. When the movie starts, we see Pat discharged from the hospital by his mother (Jacki Weaver). Pat is not entirely devoid from the violent fits — he finishes Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms and throws the book through a glass window because he’s angry over the sad ending — but he’s trying. Pat is also hell-bent to get his wife, Nikki back, even though she wants nothing to do with him.