The Silver Linings Playbook is my favorite movie. I loved the movie since the first time I saw it. Not only is the movie filmed very close to where I live, the story captured me in an emotional way. I felt changed by the movie. Realizing that the movie was inspired by a novel written by Matthew Quick, I knew I had to read The Silver Linings Playbook. After finally reading the story, I am shocked that the book and movie are complete opposites.
As many book lovers know, movies are rarely similar to the books. Some book-to-movie adaptations seem as if their only purpose is to ruin the story for its original fans; while others seem to compliment the story. No matter what the movie does for the original book, they are never completely alike. Is a movie adaptation allowed to be different? That is for the reader to decide.
The Silver Linings Playbook‘s book-to-movie adaptation was the most drastic change in a story that I have ever witnessed. When I mentioned this to my mom, a fellow lover of the movie, she asked me which was better. In all honesty, it’s impossible to compare the book and movie because it is like comparing two different stories.
The biggest difference is Pat’s mental health. The movie doesn’t portray how serious Pat’s mental illness is. In the book, Pat had to stay at the facility for four years as opposed to the eighteen months mentioned in the movie. Also, in the book, Pat is unaware of Nikki cheating on him and what he did to the guy. Pat is unaware of Nikki divorcing him and that she is now married to another man until the end of the novel. Pat’s ignorance allows him to naively believe that happy ending always happen and that he and Nikki are still in love. He is obsessed with reconnecting with Nikki and refuses to believe that she does not want him.
Another change is Pat’s reaction to Tiffany when she pretended that she was Nikki in the letters. In the book, Pat is devastated. The book portrays his feelings in the way they should have been. He spent years clinging to the idea of a happy ending with Nikki. He believed that Nikki was writing to him only to find out it was Tiffany. As any human, Pat was hurt and angry. In the movie, he appeared okay and wanted a relationship with Tiffany.
Tiffany and Pat’s relationship felt overly romanticized in the movie. Throughout the book, Pat was focused on reuniting with Nikki. Pat never saw Tiffany as a potential love interest until the end of the novel.
One change that bothered me was the dance recital. In the movie, it is seen as more professional. Also, the movie mentions that Tiffany and Pat did not perform well and that the recital was scored. However, in the book, the dance is a deep and meaningful piece that Tiffany and Pat worked hard to succeed at.
The final change I will mention is that Pat never sees Nikki in the book. Unlike the movie where Nikki shows up at the dance recital, he only sees her when he drives by her house at the end of the book and realizes that she is genuinely happy. Seeing Nikki content with her family was Pat’s ‘happy ending’. All he wanted was for Nikki to be happy and that was his closure. The movie makes it seem like Pat has a choice between Nikki and Tiffany which is false. Honestly, I do not believe that the Pat in the book would choose Tiffany if Nikki was at the dance recital.
Overall, I believe that both versions of The Silver Linings Playbook are amazing in their own unique ways. Both focus on different aspects of the story. I believe that one does not overshadow the other, but that they are two stories that loosely relate to each other. No matter what the relationship is between the book and the movie, I am still a fan of the story and believe it is something that people should read/watch.