Book vs. Movie: The Silver Linings Playbook

SLP cover (okydanbuku.com)    
Without a photo-taking device, I’ve been struggling to come up with a post that wouldn’t be hindered by lack of photos. Earlier this week I finally sat down to watch Silver Linings Playbook, which I’ve been meaning to catch since I read the book by Matthew Quick for book club a few months ago. I decided to do a quick comparison because of the two versions because when I watch an adaptation, I always run through the differences, good, bad, or indifferent. This isn’t spoiler free (I tried – it was impossible) so if you don’t want spoilers for the book or the movie, don’t read ahead.

From Goodreads: “Meet Pat. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure a happy ending for him — the return of his estranged wife Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent time in a mental health facility.) The problem is, Pat’s now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he’s being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he’s being hunted by Kenny G!”

First, I felt the pacing in the movie was much faster and therefore more enjoyable. There were several places in the book that I felt were dull, boring, or unnecessary. Obviously, some plot points and things that were changed in the adaptation, but I still liked the story and felt like it was easier to get lost in.

One thing I absolutely loved about the movie was that the character Danny, Pat’a friend from the hospital, was featured a lot more. He added comedy and was absolutely hilarious. His character serves a much different purpose in both versions, but I think it was a great move to include him more.

Pat’s family (mother, father, brother) were much different in the two versions, and I was on the fence about this. Obviously, there’s more time for character development and getting to know the characters in a 300-page book as opposed to a 2-hour movie so I understand why their characters felt a bit watered down. What really got me, though, was the fact that Pat’s relationship with his two parents. His mom didn’t serve the same purpose at all in the movie, and she as very important to Pat’s recovery. Instead, it was his father who seemed to try to push him in the movie, whereas in the book he would barely speak to Pat and ignored him other than during football games. Most of the time I’m okay with book adaptation changes if I feel like they help the transition of the story from book to movie, but I wasn’t all right with this one.

The climax of the movie (at least to me) is the dance competition/Eagles game. Pat’s father has a bet going on with a friend that the Eagles will win the game and Pat and Tiffany will earn at least a 5 in the dance competition. In the book, there was no bet, and Tiffany was a competent dancer rather than a newbie, there was no score, and she had been involved in it before. At first, I wasn’t okay with the fact that they changed the competition but by the end of the movie I think it made things a lot more interesting as well as added come comedy.

Pat’s ex-wife, Nikki was featured in the movie. In the book he just saw her from far away while driving past her house (it wasn’t as creepy as that sounds, I promise). I honestly felt like this as unnecessary. Pat barely spoke to her and other than adding an extra thirty seconds of drama by pissing of Tiffany and some uncomfortable eye contact, I don’t see why she had to be included.

In the book, we’re given hints and bits and pieces of the “big thing” that happened to ruin Pat’s marriage and put him in a hospital. We don’t find out everything until we near the end of the story. In the movie, we find out really early. One of the things that always keeps me watching/reading is “Okay, wait, so what happened that one night? What does she know that she’s not telling the protag? What is the protag holding back?” and I didn’t have that during the movie. However, I felt like the pacing and plot changes were enough that it didn’t have too much of an effect on my enjoyment of the story.

Verdict: I liked the pacing and climax better in the movie, but disliked the way the characters and some plot points where changed, so I’m going to go with the book on this one.
Buy the book: Amazon, Half.com, Thriftbooks,

Watch the movie: Amazon, Netflix

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