Silver Linings Playbook


The 2012 film Silver Linings Playbook, directed by David O. Russell (b. 1958) and based on the novel by Collingswood, New Jersey, native Matthew Quick (b. 1973), experienced overnight success when it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and earned the highly sought-after Audience Award. Filmed in and around Philadelphia, the movie showcases the region’s distinct character and culture.

This color photograph shows Jennifer Lawrence answering a question at a media event.
Jennifer Lawrence portrays Tiffany Maxwell in Silver Linings Playbook. Lawrence earned the 2013 Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the film. (Wikimedia Commons)

Starring Bradley Cooper (b. 1975), the film follows Pat Solitano Jr. as he returns to the Philadelphia suburb of Delaware County to move in with his parents, who are characterized by their dedication to the Philadelphia Eagles professional football team. Pat has to cope with his new life after being released from a mental institution, where he was treated for bipolar disorder. Focused on attending therapy sessions and jogging around his family’s suburban neighborhood to win back his ex-wife’s affections, Pat is surprised when he makes a new friend: a young woman named Tiffany Maxwell, played by Jennifer Lawrence (b. 1990). United by their painful pasts, this unlikely couple finds companionship in and around the City of Brotherly Love.

The film’s plot, characters, and Greater Philadelphia setting are derived from Quick’s 2008 novel of the same name. Although the book takes place in the author’s hometown of Collingswood, the filmmakers decided to set many scenes in Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania suburbs. While several elements differ between the book and film versions, the heart of the story and its regional inspiration shine through in its adaptation.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Cooper fit the role of Irish-Italian Eagles fanatic Pat Solitano perfectly. “I’m from Philly,” Cooper said in an interview published in 2012 by the website Deadline Hollywood. “I’m obsessed with the Eagles, I’m Italian Irish, my parents grew up in households very similar to [Pat’s family].”

Learning the Local Lingo

This color photograph shows Bradley Cooper answering a question at a media event.
Bradley Cooper portrays avid Eagles fan Pat Solitano in Silver Linings Playbook. Cooper was born and raised in Philadelphia and connected to his character’s Irish-Italian heritage. (Wikimedia Commons)

Although Cooper was unfamiliar with his character’s bipolarism and scoured a multitude of documentaries during the weeks prior to filming, his expertise about Philadelphia proved helpful to several members of the cast. For example, Jacki Weaver (b. 1947), the Australian actress who played Pat Jr.’s mother, Dolores Solitano, often listened to the Philadelphia accent of Cooper’s real mother when she came to the set. Cooper’s uncle also visited during filming and offered advice on Philly dialect to Robert De Niro (b. 1943), who played Pat Solitano Sr. Thus, both Cooper and his family helped bring authenticity to the film through their knowledge and love for the city of Philadelphia.

Filming in the Philadelphia area over a thirty-three-day period during fall 2011, Russell sought to capture the essence of a white, middle-class suburban Philadelphia family in a short span of time. To do so, many of Silver Linings’ scenes were shot in close proximity in Delaware County, including in Lansdowne and Ridley Park Boroughs and Upper Darby Township. The center of the film is unquestionably the Solitano household, which is set in a black and white stone home. Many of the jogging scenes in which Cooper memorably wears a trash bag to burn more calories were filmed in the neighborhoods of Delaware County. Another memorable scene takes place at the Llanerch Diner, 95 E. Township Line Road, Upper Darby, where Pat and Tiffany have their first “date,” which Pat asserts is not actually a date.

This color photograph shows the lobby of the Benjamin Franklin House. Film crew members prepare equipment and sit near the lobby's fountain.
In Silver Linings Playbook, Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin House serves as the site of a climactic dance competition. It is shown here during the 2011 film shoot. (Photograph by Donald D. Groff for The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia)

Although much of the film was shot in the suburbs of Philadelphia, some of the final scenes take place closer to the heart of the city. Toward the end of the film, Pat and his friends are shown pre-gaming on Wells Fargo Center Lot D just outside Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles. Later, the climax of the film takes place in Center City in the ballroom of the Benjamin Franklin House, where Pat and Tiffany’s dance competition decides the fate of Pat Sr.’s dream of opening a restaurant. In the final scene of the film, viewers see Pat and Tiffany kiss on Jewelers Row, near Eighth and Samson Streets.

Silver Linings Playbook garnered acclaim from viewers and critics. During the 2013 awards season, Jennifer Lawrence won Best Actress honors from the Screen Actors Guild, the Golden Globes, and the Academy Awards. Silver Linings also garnered several MTV Movie and Independent Spirit awards, as well as additional Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild nominations. David O. Russell won the Best Director award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and the film won Movie of the Year from the American Film Institute. With the help of the region’s distinctive culture and character, Silver Linings Playbook became a bright star showcasing the place many Philadelphians simply call home.

Margaret Poling is a Teaching Assistant and M.A. candidate studying English at Rutgers University-Camden. (Author information current at time of publication.)

Copyright 2018, Rutgers University


Benjamin Franklin House

The Benjamin Franklin House in Center City was the backdrop for a fictitious dance competition in Silver Linings Playbook. The film's protagonist, portrayed by Bradley Cooper, tries to reconcile with his estranged wife by joining the competition to show he has become a better person. In this photograph from November 2011, cast and crew gather in the lobby before the day’s shoot.

Bradley Cooper

Wikimedia Commons

Bradley Cooper (b. 1975) is an American actor best known for his starring roles in Hollywood comedies and dramas. Cooper attended Germantown Academy and Villanova University before graduating from Georgetown University in 1997. Roles in the television drama Alias (2001–06) and comedy films Wedding Crashers (2005) and The Hangover (2009) launched Cooper’s acting career, leading to a string of roles in critically acclaimed films including Silver Linings Playbook.

For his role in Playbook, Cooper recalled his childhood memories in Philadelphia. Like protagonist Pat Solitano, Cooper is of Irish-Italian heritage and a devoted follower of the Philadelphia Eagles. Cooper’s performance earned him an Academy Award nomination; subsequent projects included American Hustle (2013) and American Sniper (2014). (Photograph by Chad J. McNeeley)

Jennifer Lawrence

Wikimedia Commons

Jennifer Lawrence (b. 1990) is an American actress known for her award-winning film performances throughout the early twenty-first century. After several local theater performances and an early graduation from high school, Lawrence moved from Louisville, Kentucky, to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. She followed a two-year run on television sitcom The Bill Engvall Show (2007–09) with the lead role in 2010 drama film Winter’s Bone; for this performance, she received her first Academy Award nomination.

Lawrence’s portrayal of Tiffany Maxwell in Silver Linings Playbook won her the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2013. She followed this role with performances in the Hunger Games and X-Men series, as well as further Oscar-nominated work in American Hustle (2013) and Joy (2015). (Photograph by Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons; used under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.)

Matthew Quick

Wikimedia Commons

Matthew Quick (b. 1973) is an American author known for his adult and young adult fiction novels. Quick lived in Oaklyn, New Jersey, throughout his childhood and attended Collingswood High School, later receiving a bachelor’s degree from La Salle University and an MFA from Goddard College.

Quick’s debut novel The Silver Linings Playbook was published in 2008 and became a critical and commercial success. Although the book takes place in the author’s hometown, the filmmakers decided to set many scenes in Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania suburbs.

Additional works by Quick include Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock (2013), The Good Luck of Right Now (2014), and The Reason You’re Alive (2017). (Photograph by LaSalleExplorer, Wikimedia Commons; used under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.)

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Related Reading

Brownfield, Paul. “The Very Specific World of Silver Linings Playbook.” Deadline, 2012.

Jennings, James. “The Llanerch to JLaw’s House, Silver Linings Playbook Mapped.” Philly Curbed, 2014.

Schillaci, Sophie. “Spirit Awards 2013: Is Silver Linings an Indie?” The Hollywood Reporter, 2013.

“Silver Linings Playbook (2012) Film Locations.” The Movie District.

Quick, Matthew. Silver Linings Playbook. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2008.

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