“One inc ident can change a lifetime,” Pat Solitano’s doctor told him. After spending eight months in a mental institution, Pat (Bradley Cooper) has good reason to listen to his physician. But as the plot of Silver Linings Playbook unfolds, the question arises – did that one incident for Pat occur when he found his wife in the shower with her colleague, or was it his wacked-out reaction to the confrontation?
After being released from the hospital, Pat (Bradley Cooper) thinks little about anything logical at first. He’s back where he never wanted to be – living with his parents (Robert DeNiro, Jacki Weaver). Mom is too coddling. Dad, an obsessed football nut, thinks Pat must sit by his side watching every move of a Philadelphia football game or they will lose.
The first days are most difficult for Pat as he refuses to take his medicine and his bi-polar illness has him sending a book out through the attic window because it had an unhappy ending and scrapping dishes off of a table to the floor at a diner. That’s where Pat has invited Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) to breakfast.
Tiffany met Pat at a family dinner and began stalking him on his run every morning. Over several days Pat discovers Tiffany is as mixed up as he is. She’s also trying to forget and compensate for a past history. Once they actually become civil to each other, Pat realizes Tiffany may be the one to slip a note to his ex-wife Nikki (Brea Bee), who has a restraining order against Pat and does not want to see him. Tiffany agrees but only if Pat will be her partner in a dance competition.
Pat decides he must learn to look for the “Silver Linings” in his life if he wants to stay out of incarceration. How he determines what a “Silver Lining” is – as well as what could cause more trauma in his life – turns out to be more complicated than he ever imagined.