Table of contents

Silver linings playbook

On the passion of the bourgeoisie

This is the surprise film of the Oscar season. Nominated in all five major categories. Several lesser categories, too. This is a feast of excellence in acting, it would seem. Dear reader, you have already guessed it: It is a film about insane people. If you are paying half as much attention as you should, you have already guessed that the story wants to persuade you that you are also insane, as, indeed, is everyone.

Unhappy marriages are the only kind we see. Suburban America seems a bunch of crazy people making each other miserable. This suggests that crazy people make their kids crazy; what are called friends make each other crazy to hurt each other, so they can feel superior. All with good intentions, but somebody’s got to face the facts, no? Sunday afternoon at the game is incomplete without white racists hating the minorities.

Crazy people turn out to be far more tolerant than the normal, presumably because they know suffering. Crazy seems to emerge from selfishness; or it looks like an obsession with one’s own good. But if you added cleverness, could not that be successful? Perhaps lack of cleverness & self-control are the problem… This is a story about gaining self-control, which seems to come back to saying that one ought to be normal, if more tolerant.

Medicine hurts the mind. The two protagonists first bond over mutual understanding of the mind-destroying effects of medicine to cure crazy. But we may add that the talk of psychology is a bunch of mind-destroying clichés, too… There is much to be said for the unconventional couple, because they are less inclined to lie about the obvious. They are unfortunately not clever enough not to want to hurt people, or each other.

The whole point of the movie may be summed up by the dance judge, who cannot understand why people are excited about mediocrity. Mediocrity is an achievement for crazy people; it requires an understanding of where they started & what obstacles to appreciate the struggle they face & the victories they win. Should not this cause democrats to rejoice in their own way of life, which is middling also? Only if it can reconcile them to the perspective of the great few above them.

Tolerance seems to mean that a man who hates his wife’s infidelity against the background of their wedding song should beg forgiveness of her. Is there any good reason to be angry? No. You just have to deal with it. Fear causes anger. Hence, the woman is angrier than the man. She is also cleverer. His mother is far more loving, far less angry.

If you like the actors, & romantic comedies, go for it.