"I am practising being kind over being right."
I read The Silver Linings Playbook a really really long time ago now (OK, I finished it the day after my birthday, so... 3 months ago. But that's ages!) and even though I read it in two days which normally means I REALLY like something, in reality it was the first book I read on my Kindle and basically I was just overly excited about that. About the book? Not so much.
So, time went on and I still hadn't said anything about The Silver Linings Playbook, so I thought, 'why not wait to watch the movie and discuss them together?' Which was an excellent brain idea (nice work, brain) and meant that I didn't have to think about it for a while because I was on a payment holiday from Lovefilm. So, I got the movie and watched it, and now it's more than a month later and I still have nothing to say. So obviously this is going to be SO FUN to read. You're welcome!
OK, my initial thought has to be that I liked the movie better than the book. This isn't just because Jennifer Lawrence was there (I mean, it doesn't hurt. But I liked her character in the book plenty, too) but more because it takes the end point of the book (the 'big reveal' about Patrick's condition) and plops it basically at the beginning, so that with the film you actually get to see Patrick's recovery with a full awareness of his condition, whereas in the book, he's more just wandering around acting simple and confused and sort of like there's nothing wrong. There are merits to both methods, I suppose, but the movie was less annoying and Pat was less... simple-seeming, and that was definitely a bonus.
All of which meant, of course, that the movie was able to be a lot more rom-com-esque than the book, which isn't necessarily the worst thing in the world, and meant that the central storyline wasn't completely based around American Football (GOD that was off putting in the book. I mean, I seriously barely knew what anyone was talking about for half of it.) and was a lot more focused on Tiffany and Patrick and the evolution of their relationship. So that was fun.
Possibly the best change the film made, though, was changing the character of Patrick's dad (Pat Snr, if you will). In the book he's withholding, fiercely and almost life-cripplingly (his family's lives, not his own) superstitious, completely unsupportive of his mentally ill son and his wife who is trying to care for their mentally ill son, and just generally cold and ungiving. In the movie? He's Robert freaking De Niro. But also, he tries, which is the the main distinguishing feature between the two characters, and which makes movie-dad my favourite. I mean, I could cry at how good he is at trying to be a good dad, mostly because of how terrible book-dad is. And it's not even that book-dad isn't a true representation, it's just that movie-dad is so much more pleasant to be around. And he's Robert De Niro, so yeah.
Now, much as I do genuinely prefer the movie and enjoy it more than the book and so on, I managed to screw it up for myself somewhat by being a moron. So here's the thing: I was watching the movie, and even as I was doing so, my idiot brain was going 'well, this is wrong', 'why have they done that now?' and even, FFS, 'Why doesn't it revolve around American Football more?' And I don't even know why! I genuinely approve of basically all the changes the movie made (I even approve of Bradley Cooper! And I almost never approve of Bradley Cooper!) and still my brain was telling me it was wrong. I can only put it down to a lifetime of disapproving of the changes movies make to books, so I'm now hardwired to complain about it in my brain. Like an idiot.
So. The idiocy of my brain aside, I like the movie. The book was fine, but nothing special, and the movie was better- although, if I'm honest, neither of them really lived up to my expectations. Still, all things considered, I would totally watch the film again but I probably wouldn't re-read the book, and that is basically all you need to know about which form I think one should experience Silver Linings Playbook in.