Silver Linings Playbook: A Lesson in Dealing with Rage

· November 21, 2015

The movie Silver Linings Playbook tells the story of Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper), a young man who has just been released from a mental health center.

Pat’s problems began when, months earlier, he attacked the lover of his ex-wife. Once he serves his sentence, he returns to live in his parent’s house. His parents are hoping that their son will recover and restore his life, with the help of optimism and his passion for playing on the local football team.

Everything changes when he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a troubled young woman who offers to help Pat get his wife back.

How to soothe rage and adopt a positive attitude 

This film, made by David O. Russell (“The Fighter” and “American Hustle”), addresses two strong emotions: rage and generosity.  

Regarding rage, it presents an irrefutable truth: we have all lost our grip at some point. We don’t need to go into details or stories that would undoubtedly stir up uncomfortable memories. But it is undeniable that our nerves have betrayed us on more than one occasion over the course of our life.

Most frequently these are isolated irritations that do not have strong repercussions in the near future. Sometimes, though, negative feelings can transform us completely and turn us into a certain kind of violent and angry monster.


When should we begin to worry? Well, when rage forms part of our personality and doesn’t appear in just one bad moment. If one big stroke of color stands alone, then it is impossible for it to form a bigger picture. But when many consistent and constant brushstrokes come together, they form a landscape, or a portrait; then it is the time to worry. 

It is true that getting mad can be a good thing. It is healthy. Expressing our rejection of a certain situation, or that we disagree with something or someone, is a way for us to vent and release tension. It is impossible to always be content, and, in fact, it is necessary to, every now and then, visit the opposite shore of anger in order to reach a universal destination: that of happiness. 

A reasonably healthy person is satisfied with their life, despite the fact that it may be peppered by moments of frustration and anger. In other words, happiness is the norm that our existence is guided by, but that happiness is seen differently when contrasted with its opposite. Both emotions are necessary. 

In Silver Linings Playbook, Pat goes beyond simple rage. When indignation overcomes him, he uses the force of physical violence. Is this seen as a sign? The answer is yes. In this case, support is absolutely essential in order to maintain ideal mental health. 

It is also important to keep in mind that support is necessary, as opposed to repression. These two things should not be confused. Repressing emotions for a long amount of time can have catastrophic results. Harboring feelings of rage only increases resentment. It is necessary to sporadically let go of all of the uncomfortable feelings we have.

According to experts, a person who openly and regularly shows discomfort in a controlled way is more trustworthy than a person who gets excited about anything because one day, any day, they might explode over nothing. This lack of control often extremely negatively affects the environment around them.

One of the most valid options when struggling against the disproportionate signs of anger is through sports and exercise. Regular physical activity (playing a sport or just working out in a gym) is a huge release for both the body and mind.

In the film, Pat’s family is filled with funny and eccentric characters, but their function is just the same as any responsible parent: to help the son of the family overcome an adverse situation, in this case physical aggression.

Silver Linings Playbook sends us the message that even though it might not be evident, it can never be forgotten that: family is important, if not essential, in supporting and helping us to overcome any type of problem.