Silver Lining's Playbook IRP
By: Mira Shah
In the movie, the romance between Pat and Tiffany is much more apparent. The book does not really emphasize the romance as much, and focuses more on the mental issues Pat faces. Therefore, the movie is more entertaining, because it not only emphasizes the romantic aspect of the novel, but also incorporates the mental issues. The book gets the point across better, because it primarily focuses on Pat's mental issues and how they affect his relationship with his parents. It only vaguely portrays Tiffany as Pat's romantic interest in the end.
The Time Pat Spends in the Mental Institution
In the book, Pat spends four years in the mental institution after committing his crime. However, in the movie, he only spends eight months there. Therefore, the movie understates the seriousness of Pat's mental condition. In the book, it seems as if Pat enters a new world when he comes back home from the institution because everything has changed. He is very unaware of how long he had spent in the hospital because he represses memories of his past. He does not remember violently beating up the man he caught sleeping with his ex-wife, Nikki. In the movie, upon returning home, Pat is very aware of how long he spent in the hospital and seems to remember his past thoroughly. He seems to be a lot more self-aware than he is in the book.
Pat's Relationship with his Father
In the book, Pat wants a relationship with his father. However, his father's mental health causes him to remain distant from Pat. It's almost as if his father is emotionally incapable of showing Pat any affection. In the movie, Pat's father plays more of a fatherly figure. Though his father suffers mental issues, he still wants to do things he is emotionally capable of doing with his son. He enjoys Pat's company and wants their relationship to develop. This difference completely alters one's feelings about the storyline. When reading the book, the reader feels negativity towards Pat's father because he is such a recluse and is so rude to his family. He rarely shows love or affection to Pat or his wife. When watching the movie, the viewer has a positive perception of the father. The viewer gets the feeling that the father is very loving and understands Pat better, even though he is fighting his own mental issues.
Tiffany's Dance Competition
The way the book Tiffany's dance competition is very different than the way it is shown in the movie. In the movie, Pat and Tiffany compete against highly-ranked professional dancers, and Pat's father and Nikki attend the competition. At the end of the competition, Pat and Tiffany get rated and do not win. In the book, Pat and Tiffany "compete" against a bunch of young teenagers. However, at the end, Tiffany tells Pat that the competition isn't even really a competition and that she told him it was so she could motivate him to do well. Pat's father and Nikki do not attend. These key differences between the competitions really alter one's understanding of the story. In the book, because Tiffany forces Pat to participate in a dance competition that is of no real importance, it seems as if she is being more selfless. She does not force Pat to participate in order to win a prize, but rather forces him do it so he can focus on other things beside his broken marriage with Nikki. She wants him to let go of his past and move on. In the movie, she participates in the competition for self gain as well.
Mother and Father's Relationship
In the book, the relationship between Pat's mother and father is messed up. His father does not talk much to his mother. Because of this, his mother constantly gets very emotional. Their marriage is broken up, as Pat's mother tries very hard to get along with his father, but his father does not reciprocate her affection. It gets to the point where his mother goes on strike until his father reshapes his behavior. She gives him a set of rules that he must follow if he wants their relationship to last (he must talk to Pat a certain number of times in the day, sit at the dinner table with the family, etc). In the movie, Pat's family is very loving and his mother and father's relationship is supportive. They work through his father's mental issues easily, and there don't seem to be many struggles. Pat's father is a lot more loving to his wife and participates in more family activities. This difference makes the family in the book seem a lot more dysfunctional than the family in the movie.
The Letter Exchange
The letter exchange between Nikki and Pat is altered significantly in the movie. In the movie, Pat begs Tiffany to take a letter to Nikki. Tiffany agrees to do this, knowing that she was never actually going to give the letter to Nikki. She uses this opportunity to write a response to Pat that would help her achieve her own objectives. Pat reads the letter, and eventually figures out that Tiffany wrote the letter, even though Tiffany does not tell him that she wrote it. Upon coming to this realization, he begins to understand that Tiffany genuinely loves and that he also has gotten over Nikki and is ready to move on. He feels no anger at Tiffany for doing this, and is in fact, touched by her affection towards him. In the book, Pat does not beg Tiffany to write letters to Nikki until Tiffany offers it to him. There are a series of exchanges between him and "Nikki" and he never finds out that Tiffany writes the letters until Tiffany tells him. He initially feels angry at Tiffany and gets his whole family to look down upon Tiffany for her manipulation. Later, he comes the realization that Nikki has moved on, and reconciles with Tiffany. He realizes that she had good intentions to help him get over Nikki. This huge difference alters the meaning of the story. The letter exchange in the movie helps him realize that he actually has gotten over Nikki, while the letter exchange in the book helps him realize that Nikki is never going to come and that he must move on.
In conclusion, the only similarities between the movie and the book are the outline of the story and the main concept. However, how the story is presented is significantly different. The book is more serious, and focuses more on character development and mental illness can affect people's relationship with one another. The movie, on the other hand, focuses more on relationship building and the romantic aspects of the story, with mental illnesses as a background. In my opinion, the movie screenwriter and director must have done this deliberately in order to keep the movie entertaining, and as a result, make more people aware of mental illnesses, and build empathy and understanding about these illnesses.