'Silver Linings Playbook' OK on Mental Illness?
WebMD News Archive
Love Doesn't Conquer All continued...
In an interview with Vulture, author and psychiatrist Steven Schlozman, MD, from the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Boston, noted that he believed what the character said.
"This might very much have to do with what I do for a living, but I just assumed he went back on them," said Schlozman. "It never occurred to me that he might have stopped."
He said that "falling in love is an absolutely awesome, wonderful thing, but it's not going to cure bipolar disorder any more than it's going to cure diabetes. The flip side of that is ... that people with psychiatric illnesses -- horrible depression, bipolar disorder, even schizophrenia -- they do better when they're in love."
No Laughing Matter
There has also been a lot of talk in the press about Cooper's character and whether his depiction of bipolar disorder is accurate.
Interestingly, the director David O. Russell has said in interviews that his son has the disorder. The movie is based on a book by Matthew Quick, who has reported that he has suffered with depression.
"You're never laughing at somebody that has a mental health illness, you're laughing at the absurdity of what's going on, for all the characters involved," said Quick in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
"As someone who has worked in the mental health community, I know that laughter is very important," Quick said.
Blumenfield said that he was worried and a little uncomfortable when he first started watching the movie.
"I'm always sensitive when people are laughing at people with mental illness, and that's what it seemed to be doing, not only to the main character but also to some of the other characters. But that soon changed, and I liked the movie very much," he said.
Blumenfield also dismissed concerns raised by a few critics that showing mostly manic episodes and not depressive ones is an unrealistic depiction of bipolar disorder.
"Some people have bipolar and don't have depression at all. The film wasn't necessarily saying, 'This is exactly what bipolar is like.' I think the movie showed the complexities of disorders and also showed how traumatic events can affect people."
In fact, he said that he is not entirely convinced that Pat, the character played by Cooper, had bipolar disorder. The movie shows in flashbacks that Pat "snapped" and severely beat a man after catching him in the shower with Pat's wife. Because of this, it may be that Cooper's character is actually suffering from trauma, said Blumenfield.
"He wasn't the typical bipolar patient. He was a complex character that has been traumatized by an experience in his life. And it shows how he was able to eventually move on and find a new relationship. That's really what the movie was about," he said.