"Silver Linings Playbook" has been described as director David O. Russell's most personal film to date, though the Oscar-nominated film is even more of a family matter than many people realize.
Jennifer Lawrence gave props to her director and his son on Sunday as she accepted the award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role at the 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. She thanked Russell for making the film for his son "so that he wouldn't feel alone and so that he could feel understood... you've helped more than your son."
Russell first became acquainted with Matthew Quick's novel "The Silver Linings Playbook" several years ago when he was given a copy of it by the late director-actor Sydney Pollack. The story of a young man struggling with bipolar disorder ended up being a perfect fit for the filmmaker, whose 18-year-old son Matthew struggles with the condition himself.
"I was looking for a story that I could tell that would reflect my older son’s experience in the world, and make him feel like part of the word," Russell said in an interview with Awards Daily in December. "That was the only reason I responded to it ... I said, 'Oh, I think is that story that I've been looking for.' It was perfect. It had all these elements that I loved, including an enchanting, hopeful journey that’s essential to the pain. I wouldn’t want to deliver it any other way, to my son or anybody like him."
Matthew even appears in a few scenes in the film, and his time on set seems to have been a very positive experience.
"I think it was a very healing thing. It was a very exciting thing. It was very healing of any shame, mostly," said Russell. "There's a lot of shame that people have about having to face certain challenges. That applies to everybody, but in particular to people who have to take a medication or have to have a strategy in how to deal with life. And to have it be with Robert De Niro, and Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence, and his father working together on a story that is about a person like him, I think that will be a lasting resource to him."
Ultimately, "Silver Linings Playbook" has not only been good for Matthew but for a lot of individuals and families who are affected by the disorder.
"There's nothing you want more as a parent than to let your son feel it's gonna be OK and they can be part of the world," said Russell during an event for the film at Le Cirque in December. "Many people have come to me and told me they have a member of their family [with problems]. Many movie stars and people outside the business have said thank you."
"Silver Linings Playbook" is also nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and all four acting categories.