What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although Silver Linings Playbook is an offbeat, affecting dramedy with many comedic moments and one-liners, the story it's telling is really quite dark: It's about two people hampered by mental illness and despondence, respectively, who try to claw their way back to a semblance of normalcy and happiness. It's a romantic film in many ways, as well as a study on dysfunctional families and what makes them work in their own strange (and sometimes uncomfortable) ways. There are references to sex, violence, and gambling, as well as some upsetting scenes in which a character's anger bursts out of control, sometimes leading to physical confrontations (including one in which he knocks his mother down and ends up in a fight with his father). Flashbacks include glimpses of a bloody beating and a naked couple in a shower; there's frequent swearing ("f--k," "s--t," and more) and some social drinking.
  • Families can talk about how the movie portrays mental illness. Does it cast a positive or negative light on the mentally ill? How does it compare to other movies and TV shows you've seen on the topic?
  • Is this film a romantic comedy? Why or why not? How does it turn the genre on its head?
  • Talk about Pat's breakdown and return to his family. Is his re-entry into regular life believable? Why does his family put up with his eccentricities?
  • Are the characters admirable? Are they meant to be?
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